THE POST-SIGNAL / Desiray Seaux
Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson spoke recently to the Rotary Club of Crowley, updating club members on the upgrades and future plans for the parish law enforcement agency
Sheriff K.P. Gibson recently updated members of the Rotary Club of Crowley on upgrades and improvements at the Acadia Parish Sheriff Office.
When first taking office, Gibson said he came in with the mentality of being friendly to constituents and to involve the sheriff’s office in the community.
He acknowledged that he has “a great team working hard in challenging changes to law enforcement.”
With a plan to double the number of deputies on the road during shifts, Gibson said he has almost reached that goal at seven deputies currently patrolling, compared to the four deputies on the road when he took office.
Moving on to a narcotics discussion, the sheriff said “meth is slowly making its way into the community while heroin is a bigger issue for non- rural communities and synthetic marijuana is a huge problem due to the unpredictable behavior of the users.”
The sheriff went on to discuss his personal stance on police education, noting that APSO had increased their training hours from 8,000 to 10,000 hours last year.
He said he feels it should be a constant learning curve and, furthermore, that “when a law enforcement agent thinks he knows everything, he shouldn’t be in the business anymore ... it’s time to hang up the cleats.
“Law enforcement is changing daily and a know-everything mentality is a danger because the law enforcement officer has let his guard down and become a safety risk,” he said
Gibson then addressed the audience, explaining that the sheriff’s office needs the community to get involved and vocalize what they feel would be best for the Acadia Parish community.
The APSO recently released their 2017 annual report which includes information on zones, narcotics recovery, investigations and many more topics that are highlighted in the report packet.
Gibson announced that a new awareness program for adults with communication impediment has been implemented. Citizens can go into the department, fill out paperwork, and receive a sticker to place on back glass of their vehicle to alert law enforcement that the driver has trouble communicating in certain social situations.
Also, a new drug drop box will be located in the sheriff’s office, allowing citizens to properly dispose of prescription medicine when needed as opposed to waiting for once- or twice-a-year medicine “take back days.”
With a focus on the youth of the community, the sheriff’s office hosted six ACT prep courses during the school year and participated in Career Days, not only as law enforcement but also to speak to students.
Then, shifting focus to the elderly in the community, Gibson and deputies have been regularly visiting local nursing homes.
Among the upcoming APSO projects is the re-purposing of an old correctional facility as a storage area. Converting the old building to storage would allow the APSO to have all necessary equipment under one roof, Gibson explained.
Also, the sheriff hopes to create a modernized firing range. Currently, the firing range used is owned by a local family that has allowed the APSO and Crowley Police Department to use since 1972.
Some other highlights touched on by Gibson include:
• The APSO has offered assistance to local police departments for festivals such as the Church Point Mardi Gras, where the addition of 25 sheriff’s deputies resulted in a drastic decrease in violence and trouble.
• The APSO has decreased the response time for calls from 40-45 minutes to 15-16 minutes with an average of 15-20 minutes average response time for a non-emergency.
• Forty off-duty personnel respond to the chemical fire in Duson recently.