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Opelousas Police taking precautions after department unit was stolen

Opelousas Police taking precautions after department unit was stolen
Opelousas Police.PNG
Posted at 10:29 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 23:37:45-04

An unmarked Opelousas Police unit is back at the department after it was stolen during a drug bust Monday night.

The suspect, identified as Leon Jones III of Opelousas, was later killed in a shootout in Port Arthur, Texas. Opelousas Police Department is now making changes, so this doesn't happen again.

"We're going to emphasize safety in terms of locking vehicles making sure that your vehicle is secured," said Opelousas Police Chief Martin Mclendon.

Opelousas Police Chief Martin Mclendon says he will enforce officers to be more cautious with their police units. During an undercover drug bust operation at an Opelousas motel Monday, a man came out of a nearby room and stole the vehicle, which was left running when the officer arrived on scene.

"When the officer came outside he surprised to see that only one vehicle was there and he began to make phone calls," said Mclendon.

The vehicle turned up the next day in Port Arthur, Texas, where police say Jones tried to steal another vehicle and was killed in a shootout. All the equipment from the police unit has been recovered, except for an AR-15, which is now part of a police investigation in Texas.

Back in Opelousas, Chief Mclendon says he will encourage his officers to be more cautious with their units.

"We're certainly going to review. The officer was acting in good faith in trying to stop another crime from being committed and it just so happened that his vehicle was taken, but it does raise an awareness that officers need to continue to make it a habit of trying to secure those units that this does not happen again," said Mclendon.