THE POST-SIGNAL / Desiray Seaux
Sheriff K.P. Gibson spoke recently to Crowley Rotarians about everything from fighting illegal drugs to upgrades in facilities and community service at the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
State of the APSO
From ongoing efforts to rid the community of illegal drugs to improvements in community service, Sheriff K.P. Gibson told Crowley Rotarians about operations of the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office earlier this week.
Gibson, who has been in law enforcement for over 27 years, having also served as the police chief for the Crowley Police Department prior to being elected sheriff, said his office has been “dealing with a lot of narcotics.”
He voiced concern over the predominance of meth on the streets, adding that even heroin is being found in the area more often.
Gibson also mentioned a recent arrest that included “vape pens” and Fruity Pebbles laced with THC. The suspect is thought to have been selling locally as well as shipping narcotics, since deputies found a box with postage.
Shifting focus to the deputies, Gibson reported that, for the third year, the department has received over 10,000 hours of training.
The deputies on patrol have decreased the response time averages. Response times are now about 14 to 15 minutes, he said. This is an excellent feat considering the vast area patrol units must cover.
Along with increased customer service, the APSO has been working on increased community involvement. Some of the things APSO has been doing include:
• Read Across America
• Law Enforcement Blood Drive
• Working the Church Point Mardi Gras
• Blue Christmas Toy Drive
• Coffee with the Sheriff
• Free ACT prep course
• Hunter Safety
• Drug take back
• Nursing home visits
•Working on creating a child custody and internet safe zone
Gibson said patrol deputies are putting between 40,000 and 60,000 miles a year on their units.
Gibson explained he has a “Slow Patrol Detail,” where deputies are instructed to stop and visit with the community in order to increase community involvement.
The topic then moved to the corrections department.
One of the main focuses of APSO was to cut the amount of contraband brought into the jail, according to the sheriff. The APSO has installed netting above an outdoor recreation yard and has erected an additional exterior fence so that the jail fences can no longer be easily accessible to get contraband.
Gibson gave examples of “contraband,” such as cell phones, tobacco and drugs, adding that APSO has seen about a 70 percent decrease since beginning the crack down.
APSO is currently housing about 180 prisoners, with about 60 of those offenders waiting for trial.
Of those 60, many face possible life sentences if convicted, at that time they would be moved to a state penitentiary.
According to the sheriff, APSO has a 180-bed facility, not counting medical and lock-down beds.
He also discussed the Parish Crime Stopper program that was started in 2004 with funding generated from $2 off every court fine.
Crime Stoppers has become a vital tool in solving crimes, Gibson said. The tips line allows people to anonymously call in with information or the location of someone who is wanted.
Lastly, he brushed upon two major projects. First, the office is in the process of converting the old detention center into a fleet center to store boats, 4-wheelers, etc., in one central location.
Secondly, a possible new shooting range to be built on the campus. Gibson said the APSO has been using a range generously built in 1972 by the Habetz family.
In the future the sheriff would like the new shooting range to be open to the public on specific days.