The local NAACP chapter has called on Lafayette Consolidated Government to re-instate the park police department.
Two teenagers who died in a shooting at an unauthorized party at Moore Park this weekend might still be alive if the park police were still operating, said Marja Lyn Broussard, president of Lafayette's NAACP chapter.
Broussard said a police officer was called to a party of 200-300 youth at the park. She said her group was told the party had no permit, and wouldn't have been given a permit. She said Park Police, before they were disbanded by Mayor-President Josh Guillory, kept tabs on social media and took steps to break up unauthorized parties at local parks.
"This is a community issue," Broussard said. "We are working to address the culture within our youth, to use guns to vent anger, but we need the Mayor President and law enforcement to do their part."
NAACP official John Milton said the Guillory administration's policies seem aimed at removing government from recreation and substituting privatization as the method of operation. That policy, and similar policies aimed at limiting government involvement in community life, will have lasting impact on Lafayette, he said.
Broussard said her group raised concerns about the disbanding of park police, and were told by LCG officials that Lafayette Police could handle supervision and law enforcement at the parks.
"Since the police department has failed to pick up the slack, the NAACP repeats our demand to re-instate park police immediately," Broussard said. "What happened in the early hours of October 15 should never happen again."
Broussard said it's clear that the concerns weren't unfounded.
"We knew this was going to happen," she said. "We knew it. We knew it."
Here's the full statement. You can watch the full press conference below.
"During the first round of budget cuts in August, Lafayette City-Parish Council approved Mayor-President Josh Guillory's staff's proposal to eliminate the Lafayette Park Police program. The Park Police program was started to support local law enforcement agencies who did not have the resources to monitor the parks on a regular basis," release from the group states. "The NAACP and other local organizations called on the City-Parish Council to reject the dismantling of the park police over concerns with lack of regular monitoring should they approve it."
The group says they also want LCG to "the lack of involvement of local law enforcement familiar with the party on October 15."