Jan 24, 2011 11:35 PM by Shawn Kline

Pressing Problems for Pine Prairie Police: Home invasion, burglaries

"He came through here," Renee Fontenot said, pointing to a slab of plywood covering her window. "All the bottom of it is broke and everything."
Fontenot says 37-year-old Oliver Brasseaux broke into her home; climbing through the window and brutally beat her because she was protecting his girlfriend.
"My head is still swollen." Fontenot says, "I have knocks on my head."
Police say, "Mr. Brasseaux had cut her in the hand."
When a police officer arrived, he charged Brasseaux was charged with six crimes:
Home Invasion, attempted manslaughter, aggravated burglary, terrorizing, public intimidation, and property damage.
Police said, "his explanation (when we finally took him in), was that he took a lot of medication."
Just yards away from Fontenot's home, a pair of suspects broke in to Pine Prairie High School.
"They took laptops, they took a projector." Police say, "several thousand dollars worth of computer equipment."
The same officer who handled the home invasion is now heading that investigation.

Three school break-ins and a brutal home invasion. And that's just the past week in Pine Prairie.
So why such an active crime scene in an Evangeline Parish village of barely a thousand people?
Other villages comparable in size, like Maurcie, have at least five part-time officers.
Pine Prairie has only one: Police Chief Todd Ortis.
Ortis receives assistance from the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office as well as Louisiana State Police. But other than that, it's just him on the streets- alone in his truck.
"Everyone here is aware that I'm the only police officer here," Ortis said.
In August, village council cut his staff to save money; leaving Ortis to patrol and investigate crimes by himself.
Since then, call volumes are up and residents say if there were more officers, there might be less crime.
Ortis says he hopes to hire one part-time officer in the coming months- but it's still far from the six officers stationed in Maurice and other villages the size of Pine Prairie.



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