Parish gets facelift with unveiling of sheriff's complex, DMV

Michelle Stuckey
April 08, 2011 at 9:28 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Parish President V.J. St. Pierre applaud St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne after he cuts the ribbon on the new Sheriff’s Office complex.
Michelle Stuckey
Gov. Bobby Jindal and Parish President V.J. St. Pierre applaud St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne after he cuts the ribbon on the new Sheriff’s Office complex.
St. Charles Parish received a facelift last week with the official unveiling of the new Sheriff’s Office complex and the ribbon cutting of a stand-alone Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Sheriff’s Office’s new state-of-the-art facility is 35,000 square feet and cost $7 million to build. The property, which is located on Judge Edward Dufresne Parkway in Luling, allows all of the sheriff’s offices to be consolidated and also includes space for evidence processing and storage, fingerprinting, interview rooms outfitted with audio and video equipment and conference rooms.

“A facility like this has been a long, long time coming,” said Parish President V.J. St. Pierre.

With this new complex, Sheriff Greg Champagne said that the department’s patrol division, investigations division, juvenile division and crime scene division would all be under one roof for the first time in the office’s 100-year history. Previously, when Champagne wanted to call a meeting of his command staff, officers had to come from all over the parish.

Champagne said that the visibility and response time  of his officers will not be hampered by this new complex. In fact, he suggests that it would be improved, since when an emergency occurs where detectives or administrators are needed, they would be in a much more centralized location.

“The land is a prime piece of real estate in the center of the parish and we can be in any corner of the parish within minutes,” he said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal attended the complex’s unveiling and said that the building would be a great addition for St. Charles’ men and women in uniform.

“Those who run toward danger instead of away from it deserve a facility like this,” Jindal said.

Parish officials also dedicated the new St. Charles Parish Office of Motor Vehicles Friday with a ribbon-cutting celebration boasting at least one New Orleans celebrity.
Clarinetist Pete Fountain was on hand for the festivities, as well as State Office of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Nick Gautreaux, District Attorney Harry Morel and others.

The building is set to open next week.

“Anyone who works at the courthouse or even visits on a regular basis knows how much traffic our Department of Motor Vehicles Office generates,” St. Pierre said during the ceremony. “While we love our DMV employees, we are excited to be kicking them out of the courthouse and into this efficient new building.”

The 1,625-square-foot, $325,288 facility was funded in part by a Louisiana State Local Government Assistance Program grant in the amount of $151,000, with the balance coming from the parish’s general fund. The move will allow the courthouse to beef up its security by eliminating the foot traffic through the building’s back doors.

Gautreaux praised the parish’s efforts in this latest partnership between local and state government.

“The people who make this happen are the citizens of this parish; and also the citizens of other parishes that come to this office who appreciate the customer service,” Gautreaux said “As commissioner, I’m dedicated to keeping this office open no matter what happens.”

Architect John Campo said he aimed to place the needs of the public first in designing the building for a pleasant and efficient user experience.

The new location is located directly across River Road from the courthouse directly behind the Economic Development office.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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