In the near future, Shreveport residents can expect to see more white and brown cars of the Caddo Sheriff’s office on Shreveport streets.
Well, not all the streets.
Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said sheriff deputy patrols will be in the areas of the
city that are contiguous to the city limits. In essence, sheriff deputies will move into neighborhoods that are adjacent to the city limits.
Prator’s announcement was after what he called “an unvarnished” discussion of the recent spate of Shreveport murders. Meeting in his office was Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler, Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump, Shreveport City Councilmen Willie Bradford and Jerry Bowman, Caddo Commissioners Louis Johnson and Mike Middleton, and members of Prator’s top staff.
Prator did not specify a start date for the patrols.
He did say the Caddo Commission had agreed to help fund the additional costs of this enforcement effort. The Commission has not voted on any additional funding for Prator, although Commissioner Louis Johnson has publicly stated he will vote for funding Prator. Whether or not he made an unauthorized commitment on behalf of the Commission is unknown.
No mention was made of the City of Shreveport picking up part of the tab.
Prator emphasized that crime was down in the Parish and that he did not want to jeopardize parish residents to more crime by the patrols. Presumably, overtime officers will provide these services, which will, of course, increase the costs. Whether or not funding for additional fuel costs, wear and tear on the sheriff vehicles (plus additional depreciation from increased mileage) and other related law enforcement costs will be reimbursed was not detailed.
At a follow-up meeting of law enforcement officials, the actual details of the city patrols by sheriff deputies were reviewed. These topics included 911 calls that go directly to the Shreveport Police Department (SPD) that will need to be re-routed to the Caddo Parish Sheriff Office (CPSO).
Sheriff deputies are authorized law enforcement officers and thus they can exercise the same powers of their SPD counterparts. As Prator noted, Shreveport is in Caddo Parish and thus his office has law enforcement authority within the city limits as well as in the parish outside Shreveport.
With Caddo deputies patrolling the city, SPD can concentrate its law enforcement efforts in the higher crime areas of the city. Presumably more cars on the streets will deter crime in these neighborhoods. Whether or not higher SPD visibility in some areas will push the “bad guys” to other areas is an open question.
Many Shreveport citizens are just as concerned about the unsolved serious crimes (like murder) as they are about the frequency of these crimes. Many hope and believe that bringing the “criminals to justice” will not only get the perpetrators off the streets, but also be a deterrent to future crime. Unfortunately, the list of major unsolved crimes is growing.
How much the sheriff deputy patrols will decrease crime and improve arrests in unsolved crimes are questions yet to be answered.
The big elephant in the room is how long the deputies will patrol within the city limits. And what happens when the patrols cease.
To say the sheriff deputy patrols is a band-aid solution to a major problem is an understatement.