Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, June 23, 2014 12:12 PM
With an anticipated 50,000 new people en route to Southwest Louisiana because of industrial expansions, the No. 1 problem facing Calcasieu Parish law enforcement for the years ahead will be the increase in traffic, Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Thursday.
“That’s going to be our biggest obstacle and challenge,” Mancuso told business leaders at the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center.
He said he doesn’t believe the existing infrastructure is ready for more automobiles. With more people on the road, he foresees more DWIs, wrecks, fatalities and difficulties for emergency vehicles.
“We’re going to have to deal with those pains as they come,” he said.
He said a few solutions to traffic would be to wrap Interstate 210 around and have more four-lane roads.
In reference to crime, he said he doesn’t expect crime rates to go up.
“I know a lot of people are very concerned about this sudden growth and what’s going to happen,” he said “We’re going to be very aggressive.”
He said communities can be unprepared with an influx of people but he doesn’t expect that to happen in the region.
No matter the amount of people in any community, he said drugs will remain the biggest catalyst for crime.
“If we get rid of that, we would have very few problems in our society,” he said. “It’s not the expansion and the growth and the number of people — it’s drugs.”
With possibly three worker villages to be constructed in Southwest Louisiana, he said sheriff officials have visited worker villages in Canada and Texas to be more educated about how to police them.
“They say we are going to get foreign nationals, which would be Filipinos, and everywhere we’ve been there has not been a significant rise in crime from the work camps. They are hard-working people who want to work,” he said. “Will one of those be a bad seed? Probably. We’ll deal with that. We’ll flush it out, and we’ll send them back home where they belong.”
He added that he’s “not for or against the work camps” because it’s “for the citizens to debate.”
Mancuso expects the benefits of the population boom to be higher property values and a larger tax base.
Posted By: Jim On: 6/24/2014
Title: The Bigger Picture
I believe the bigger picture in all of this points to a couple of things. First, based upon the actual projects "proposed" vs the work on the "actual" in place and likewise the timeframe of the work occuring on the those projects, the numbers appear somewhat inflated at ties. Several questions should be answered, but not necessarily by the CSPO. For instance, where are the economists in all of this (i.e. the folks from McNeese, Police Jury, State and Local Offices) and what do the actual statisitcs show is--or will happen?
Further, I'm curious to see the report on the study conducted by the CPSO in regards to the analysis of a 300-400 person "man-camp" (aka Village) in comparison to the speculated 3000-4000 person one continually delved upon for the Southland Field area. Further, I'm certain the public would be interested in knowing just how those areas evaluated by the CPSO in Texas and Canada compare to our area (i.e. population ratio of citizens and law enforcement both "pre and post" project occurence).
In general there does not appear to be any "solid" information coming from any entity regarding these future projects, hence the questions remain; (1) where is all of the solid evidence, and (2) since when does the Sheriffs Office in any parish/county conduct economic impact assessments? Finally, where is the analysis to support any of the information provided?
In closing, this is no way insinuating that the CPSO is--or has not done their part from a law enforcement perspective, however they are not the experts when it comes to conducting, developing and presenting trending data. Thank you.
Posted By: Doug On: 6/23/2014
Title: Population Growth??
How many of those newcomers are expected to settle within Lake Charles proper?