In Iberia Parish, the sheriff’s office is looking at solutions to cut costs when transporting people committed for mental evaluation.
Currently, the sheriff’s office transports people under "emergency custody orders" and "orders for protective custody" to hospitals across the state, but at their own expense. That according to officials has become costly for the sheriff’s office.
The parish government is discussing ways to help alleviate that cost.
"It’s been a problem through the years because of the cost of transporting these patients," says Major Wendell Raborn of Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Raborn says the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office is only obligated to take people under "emergency custody orders" and "orders of protective custody" to a local hospital after picking them up.
"Beyond that, we really didn’t have an obligation but we’ve been doing it for years – to the transporting them to other facilities in the state. And it takes a deputy’s salary, mileage on the car, gas, fuel," says Major Raborn.
On Wednesday, the Iberia Parish Council will discuss a contract with the sheriff’s office under which the parish government would reimburse the sheriff’s office for taking patients to facilities out of the parish.
"We’re trying to be able to forecast from year to year what’s taking place. Iberia Parish is actually responsible for the transportation of the PEC’s so we just want to make sure we know when we’re transferring someone from one place to another what it’s going to cost to get that person there and pay for that deputy that’s doing the transportation," says Iberia Parish President Larry Richard.
It’s a contract the sheriff’s office says will save them money in the long run.
"In the past, we have been transporting them at our cost and we’ve been absorbing all that through the sheriff’s office budget so now what we’re doing is we will be reimbursed for that cost outside of the parish," says Major Raborn.