LCG scrambles to outfit cops

by Walter Pierce

The City-Parish Council has added an emergency meeting to Tuesday’s regular agenda in order to make available money to purchase safety equipment for the Lafayette Police Department.

[Wednesday Update: The City-Parish Council approved the funding measure.]

Mayor Joel Robideaux is asking the City-Parish Council to free up $120,000 in the budget and to transfer that money to the Lafayette Police Department for the purchase of new protective equipment. The money would come from the City Sales Tax Capital Improvement Fund.

LPD spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton says the department realized the need to update its safety gear when the LPD offered to loan Baton Rouge Police 14 Lafayette officers to help with crowd control during the peaceful protests following the BRPD shooting death of Alton Sterling earlier this month. The BRPD didn’t act on the offer, but the LPD’s outdated equipment became apparent.

“What we had available to our officers was inadequate,” Mouton says. “We had helmets from the ’70s and bought a small amount of helmets in the early ’90s. And so the chief and his command staff got with the mayor and the council, and they want our officers to be afforded with the safety equipment that they need in the event we would have to respond to any of these events assisting another agency or within our own city.”

The department is looking to purchase new shields, batons, helmets and body armor to protect officers conducting crowd control.

“We were doing our officers an injustice with the inadequate equipment that he had available, and the administration sees that,” Mouton adds.

Passage of the ordinance will almost certainly be slam dunk for the department. Mouton says since the recent ambush killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the community has rallied around the LPD.

“The love is evident. If I could just show you a picture of our briefing room — all the food,” he says. “This community — especially Lafayette — is just awesome to us, and we know that.”