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Informer: Rank policy matter of convenience, tradition

Last Modified: Friday, September 21, 2012 7:22 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Why do Lake Charles police wear rank on both the sleeve and the collar? Why is the rank different on the collar and the sleeve, i.e., sergeant, with chevrons and star (senior) on the sleeve and only sergeant insignia on the collar, with no star?

Who determines the specific number of stars worn by the chief and deputy chiefs, and how was this number arrived at?

Deputy Chief Mark Kraus said officers wear their rank on both their sleeves and their collars for reasons of convenience and tradition.

With the rank in two places on the uniform, members of the public and the department can more easily identify one officer from another, Kraus said.

“Also, officers the rank of sergeant wear a silver stripe down the sides of the trousers, and officers with the rank of lieutenant and above wear a gold stripe down the side of their dress trousers,” he wrote in an email.

“This further assists in easy identification of an officer’s rank at a distance.”

Additionally, the placement of the rank is a nod to military practice, which the department, “as a paramilitary organization,” chooses to emulate, Kraus said. The collar rank for senior corporals and sergeants lacks stars, he said, because the department has yet to find a supplier that meets its standards.

Kraus said Police Chief Don Dixon determines how many stars both he and his deputy chiefs wear. According to police tradition, he said, the heads of departments of 150 or more officers wear four stars. But Dixon “thinks that distinction should be saved for American generals who are currently fighting wars,” he said.

Bilingual notice grant requirement

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury has been putting some notices in the back of the American Press in Spanish. I thought English was the official language of the United States.

The United States has no official national language.

Bryan Beam, parish administrator, said the bilingual notice, which appeared in the newspaper Sept. 6 and 7, is a requirement of a federal grant that the Calcasieu Parish Housing Department receives.

The item notified readers that the department is a taking comments on a report, its 2013 Annual Plan — or, if you prefer, “Plan anual de 2013.” Public comments — or “comentarios del publico” — can be submitted through Sept. 30.

For more information, call the Housing Department at 721-3577.


Lake Charles noise ordinance refers to mowers

Does Lake Charles have an ordinance regarding lawn mowing and construction early in the morning?


The city code’s noise provision prohibits “construction and demolition activity” 7 p.m.-5 a.m. weekdays; before 7 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Saturday; and all day Sunday and on federal holidays.

An exception: “Lawn mowers and agricultural equipment operated between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. when operated in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and with all standard noise reducing equipment in place and in proper condition.”



The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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