|The most highly visible department within the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office is the Uniform Road Patrol division with 40 units and 10 additional reserve deputies. These law enforcement officers are responsible for responding to over 35,000 calls a year to handle nuisance complaints, domestic violence cases, armed robberies and homicides. Another major part of their jobs is proactive patrol of residential areas throughout the parish. In 2001, LPSO Uniform Road Patrol deputies logged over 1.5 million miles patrolling the parish.
“We strive to have a high visibility in residential areas, “ explains Sheriff Willie Graves. “We’re not only there to help prevent crime and respond quickly to incidents, we also look for opportunities to stop and visit with the residents and children of the parish. Every time a deputy goes into a subdivision, the officer calls in the location so that we can keep a record of where our units have been in the parish. We can also step up patrols in areas that have had higher incidences of crime.”
All Uniform Road Patrol officers are P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certified law enforcement professionals who are required to pass a physical fitness test every six months to maintain eligibility. In addition, they are required to attend bi-monthly training programs on a variety of topics including firearms, driving, use of force, defensive tactics, etc.
Each road patrol unit is equipped with a laptop computer and video camera in addition to radar equipment to help with enforcement of traffic laws in the growing parish. Some units are also equipped with the LOJACK auto theft recovery system. The laptops play a vital role in protecting the safety of the officers, allowing for license and background checks before approaching the suspect’s vehicle. The laptops are also very valuable in the dispatching process, allowing for voiceless dispatching and relaying of more detailed information between dispatchers and road patrol deputies.
The video cameras are used to record evidence and document incidents that may occur during traffic stops or at crime scenes. The cameras have been very beneficial in documenting DWI violations, recording incriminating statements from suspects, and in investigating citizen complaints against deputies.
Uniform Patrol officers are allowed to drive their units home with them and can use them off-duty with discretion. “They must be properly dressed with their weapons and credentials and be prepared to render aid and assistance or respond as needed in an emergency situation,” explains Sheriff Graves. “By having these off-duty units on the road, it increases our visibility throughout the parish and helps to deter crime. It also gives us faster response times and prevents our regular patrol units from being pulled from other areas in the parish. All this protection is provided at very little expense to the taxpayers.”
The Uniform Road Patrol also responds to automobile accidents and traffic problems in conjunction with the Motor Division. “They are also a vital part of our parish’s anti-drug effort,” added the Sheriff. “Many of our drug arrests are the result of observant road patrol deputies who have been trained in how to detect signs and symptoms of drug presence and abuse.”
The slogan “Serving With Pride” is clearly evident in the work of the LPSO Uniform Road Patrol, in the level of preparedness and professionalism of the officers and the commitment they demonstrate to their jobs and the people of this parish.