According to Sheriff Mike Couvillon, some programs operated or sponsored by the VPSO were temporarily halted due to staffing shortages, lack of suitable inmates for work programs, and logistical problems caused by the pandemic. These programs are now being restarted post-pandemic phase, along with the introduction of new ones.
"Like most businesses, we are not immune to periods that challenge our ability to maintain full staffing, and as a result, decisions are made that prioritize public safety FIRST. When this happens, we suspend programs in the order of how they might directly affect public safety. I am happy to announce that we have reached adequate staffing levels and have secured the necessary resources needed to bring back these programs and introduce new ones."
Sheriff Mike Couvillon
Programs Being Reinstated:
- The Litter Abatement Program uses inmate labor to operate a litter abatement program to pick up trash littered along our public roadways.
- The Jail Garden Program uses inmate labor to grow vegetables to help feed the inmates at the parish jail. Many improvements have been made since the suspension of this program, including a protection levee with an outer perimeter fence providing a more secure environment to work inmates and an underground piped irrigation system, all paid for by grants and money generated from the inmate commissary program.
- TRIAD program where law enforcement meets with senior citizens within the community to address crimes and safety concerns of the elderly.
- GED program provides inmates the ability to work towards getting a high school diploma equivalent while incarcerated at the parish jail, which also includes a means to continue the process if discharged from the jail into the community before completion. We are in the process of advertising and searching to hire a GED instructor to facilitate the program.
Introduction Of New Programs:
- An aggressive Criminal Interdiction K9 Unit equipped with new technology to target the transport of illegal narcotics within Vermilion Parish. This unit will work closely with our Narcotic Task Force and share information with other jurisdictions, including crime watch centers. We believe this will prove to be a valuable tool to help us in our efforts to fight against the transport, dealing, and use of illegal drugs in our parish.
- Jail re-entry program that identifies inmates' needs and provides resources available to aid inmates in their adjustment from jail to society.
- An internet-based crime mapping program that allows our residents to monitor crimes in Vermilion Parish. The ability to see a map of Vermilion Parish showing reported crimes in areas of interest enables people to stay better informed and better prepared, enhancing safety for themselves and their families. We hope that public use of this system will cause people to share information with law enforcement and aid in developing leads to solving cases faster and putting criminals in jail.