Homicide creates greater push for New Iberia city police - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Homicide creates greater push for New Iberia city police

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New Iberia City Hall New Iberia City Hall

After this weekend's fatal shooting in New Iberia, the mayor and sheriff are pushing for more law enforcement.

Mayor Freddie DeCourt has proposed a half-cent sales tax to pay for a city police department.

He said, "I don't really see any other option . . . It's dedicated to public safety, and Lord knows it's needed. All we got to do is watch the news. All we got to do is look at the newspaper. All we have to do is network with the neighborhood watches that are happening all over our community as a response to this wave of crime. Don't tell me it's not needed."

DeCourt said the most recent homicide over the weekend convinces him it's time New Iberia has a police department concentrating solely on the city and community policing. 

He explained, "That's what I'm offering. I'm not thrilled with 80 more employees and a bigger budget and every police issue will now be the mayor's issue. But you know what? It comes with the territory. If you're going to sit in this chair and think of the City of New Iberia and try to market this place and fix this place and bring in new businesses and new residential developments, the first you got to have is a safe city."

When the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office called in State Police to help with patrols in high crime areas two months ago, the agency says calls of shots fired went down to zero.

Maj. Wendell Raborn, Public Information Officer for Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, said, "We had several joint operations with the state police. It's worked out wonderful."     

However, it hasn't completely eradicated violent crime. With five homicides so far this year, two are still unsolved. That compares to this time last year when the sheriff's office was investigating seven homicides.

In all, the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office worked 9 homicides in 2016 with five still unsolved.
Raborn said, "The mayor has a plan in place for bringing the police department back, and we welcome that option. We're going to help them in any way we can to make it go into effect. We are dedicating right now almost all of our resources in the city." 

Mayor DeCourt said he plans on holding a number of town hall meetings beginning in August to rev up support before the October vote. 

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