It was 2004, and Sheriff Mike Couvillion decided to create the Vermilion Parish Task Force, a multi-community unit, aimed at tackling the tougher, more expansive problems in the parish. His main reason? Trying to put a dent into drug-related crimes.
“Because just taking the drugs off the street and not sending the individual to prison, you’re not accomplishing anything,” explains Couvillion.
From Abbeville to Maurice, Kaplan, Erath and Gueydan.
The Vermilion Parish Task force, backed by contributions from member municipalities, works the parish when needed most. More equipment, more training comes into play.
“Each police department in these communities gives X amount of dollars and we distribute our work throughout the parish as needed,” says Couvillion.
Two years ago, Kaplan Police Chief Joshua Hardy faced a budget shortfall, and he redirected his department’s $22,000 contribution to the salaries of his own staff. That, however, didn’t mean Kaplan wasn’t still part of the team.
“And even after pulling out the contribution, the sheriff was still willing to help us out, anytime they were needed? ‘Just call’,” recalls Hardy.
So, when finances improved a bit in Kaplan, Hardy and city leadership asked to rejoin the task force. While the Kaplan PD had already made over 150-drug related arrests in the last couple of years on its own, renewing its support of the task force, gives it a chance to turn up the heat on crime.
“We feel that we can use the sheriff’s task force to help us where we can get it on the street level and a higher level,” agrees Hardy.
Teamwork. Strength in numbers. Unified purpose to fight drugs. “More eyes, more ears will help make Vermilion Parish a better place to raise your family,” offers Couvillion.
“And it’s always to good to have an extra set of hands,” smiles Hardy. “As we say in law enforcement, more hands is better.”
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