Grant welcome to LC Police Department

Published 10:37 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

The news that the Lake Charles Police Department is receiving a federal grant that will allow it to hire more officers was welcome within the department and the city.

The $745,000 grant, provided through the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program, will provide $248,000 to the department for three years.

Lake Charles will have to match 25 percent of the grant and will be responsible for the officers’ salaries after three years. Lake Charles now has six or seven community police officers. How many new positions the money will add is yet to be determined.

The Justice Department awarded $123 million nationwide through the hiring program.

According to its website, four priority areas received focus: homeland security, homicide and gun violence, school-based policing, and trust problems.

Community policing is an outreach program that provides officers and residents an opportunity to interact in settings outside calls for service, Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said.

“It’s like an extension of a Neighborhood Watch program in that it encourages an ongoing personal relationship between the officer and the neighborhood,” he said.

The hope is that the public will gain trust in the police, that the police will gain an understanding of the public and that the relationship will lead to an overall reduction in crime.

Gone are the days when officers knew everyone they stopped. With Lake Charles’ population already over 70,000 and likely to grow with the industrial expansion the area is expecting, it’s going to be that much harder to know everyone whose paths we cross.

But with a solid community policing effort, some of the gap can be bridged and lines of communication opened.(MGNonline)