Lafayette Sheriff Deputies head to Marigny Circle to improve community relations

Posted at 10:34 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 23:34:40-04

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s office is working to improve relations with people who live in Marigny Circle.

That area makes the news but not always for the best reasons, and deputies are working to change that.

Deputy Cindy Richie asked a 10-year-ol in the neighborhood, "so do you like living back here?" The girl replied, "Well sometimes because they shoot a lot." Deputy Richie asked, "and do you call the police whenever they do it?"

"No my mom said that’s how I could end up killed because who ever snitches they could end up getting killed."

And that is why deputies are walking this neighborhood, and reaching out to the residents of Marigny Circle to make sure this little girl, or anyone else doesn’t have to live in fear.

"We have people that can help you out in assistance in any kind of way so it’s all about coming out here and talking and maybe it ain’t all about bringing people to jail," said another deputy to a man sitting on his porch. "Unfortunately that’s when most people see us is when stuff goes bad."

More than 50 off-duty sheriff’s deputies and other community leaders walked the neighborhood. And neighbors say that this encourages them to say something the next time they see something.

"We’re taking enforcement action more than half the time we’re making somebody unhappy. This is an opportunity to encounter the youth, the children in the apartment complex maybe people who wouldn’t normally have a reason to call us to have face to face contact with us," said Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber.

Deputies went around speaking with parents and children, to open lines of communication and to offer their assistance.

They even volunteered their vans to bring kids in the neighborhood to summer camp at the Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana.

Another knock at a family’s door handing out flyers, "So $20 per child covers everything for the summer basically they come, pick them up here, they feed them, all that so there’s the information on that."

"It was very good because parents knew they were going to a safe place every day and also getting fed they not only get lunch but they also get breakfast," said the unit director at Boys and Girls Club, Harold Alexander.

At first people in the neighborhood were caught off guard by the heavy law enforcement presence.

"Everybody was scared, we said ‘oh my God they got cop cars coming all over the place, we got vans, there’s about to be a bust,’" said Rhokealia Hines, who lives in the subdivision.

But residents eventually warmed up to the idea.

"But Iappreciate that y’all do come out because the community really need it especially back here, because they don’t have too many role models, so they need that because when they do come out they see violence," said Hines, holding one of her grand babies.

"I think it shows initiative for the most part, like she said, they don’t just want to come when it’s bad, you know, they just coming to check if it’s bad or if its good right?" said Lashonda Turner, another woman who lives in the area.

If you live in the marigny circle or iles des cannes neighborhood, you can fill out an application for the affordable summer camp by heading to the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana at 121 S Washington St. or calling them at (337) 232- 6401.