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Jun 18, 2012 9:55 AM by AP

Mansfield PD to step up speeding, DWI enforcement

MANSFIELD, La. (AP) - Mansfield police are joining a DeSoto Parish program to put off-duty officers on the street at time-and-a-half for extra speeding and DWI patrols.

The DeSoto Parish District Attorney's Office coordinates LACE, for Local Agency Compensated Enforcement. The increased patrols improve safety and improve revenue, from the tickets the officers write, officials say.

"I've gotten numerous complaints on speeders in the neighborhoods. I think this will help just slow some of the traffic down," Mayor Curtis McCoy told The Times. With summer, more children and pedestrians are out, he said. "I think it will benefit the town as a whole."

Until now, the program has involved only sheriff's deputies and state police. Mansfield aldermen approved an agreement between District Attorney Richard Johnson Jr. and McCoy last week.

MPD officers won't be on a regular schedule to work LACE. McCoy envisions at least one weekend a month of extra enforcement.

The extra work can be lucrative for the officers. More than $1 million was paid over the two-year period of 2010-11 to state troopers and sheriff's deputies who wrote LACE tickets.

A May 27 report by The Times revealed that more than $2 million has been generated annually in three of the past four years in DeSoto Parish through all traffic fines and citations. It's uncertain how much of that comes specifically from LACE tickets but officials estimate it is the majority.

Court costs tacked onto the tickets are shared by 18 agencies spread across the state. A large percentage goes into the parish criminal court fund that covers expenses such as court secretaries' salaries and benefits, official and professional fees, jurors and witness expenses and the law library.

DeSoto Parish Indigent Defender Board Supervisor Steve Thomas estimates 80 to 85 percent of his $750,000 budget comes from LACE revenue.

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