Sheriff wants meeting to discuss YCP disturbances

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Following yet another bad weekend for the Youth Challenge Program at Camp Minden, Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker is ready to take action.

“Sometime about mid-week, we are having a meeting with high officials of the National Guard and local law enforcement in our parish and Bossier,” Parker said. “Something has to be done about this.”

The “this” to which Parker is referring includes a stolen vehicle on Thursday night and another YCP disturbance on Saturday.

Parker said a Dixie Inn business owner contacted him Thursday night to report a break-in and a stolen van.

“Camp Minden had 2 walk-aways from YCP, so we suspected it was them the whole time,” Parker said. “The van was located off Hwy. 157 in Bossier Parish, so the property owner was able to recover his vehicle.”

The two male subjects were caught and returned to YCP, said the sheriff. Dixie Inn Police are investigating.

Saturday night was a much different situation.

Parker said around 9:20 p.m. the security force at YCP called about a platoon of young men “acting out of control.”

“One of the individuals threw a large cooler at one of the force, and as he was trying to deal with him, there were 2 others trying to get his gun out of his holster. We could very easily have had a hostage situation on our hands or even worse,” the sheriff said.

Parker said Minden Police brought their K9 officer, and Louisiana State Troopers and Sarepta Police also worked with his deputies.

One of the individuals, 18-year-old Devante M. Drake of Lafayette, is at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center for attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with force and inciting a riot.

The juvenile involved is in Ware Youth Center with the same charges.

Parker said 10 other juveniles were taken to the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office for inciting a riot and released to their parents.

“One of these 10 additional youths has charges for putting his hands on and interfering with a state trooper,” Parker said.

Mid-August a similar situation occurred when 8 females and 1 male cadet caused a riot.

“All of them were taken to the sheriff’s office and issued citations for various charges. Parents and guardians were contacted and told to come pick them up. It took about 10 hours to complete the process,” Parker said.

Then, just a day later, deputies were called back to Camp Minden.

“Another 18-year-old, Kenneth Sanders of Shreveport, put some batteries in a sock and tried to assault one of the Cadres,” the sheriff said.

Sanders was also sent to BDCC.

Parker hopes to have his concerns addressed at the upcoming meeting.

“I live 3 miles from Camp Minden, as the crow flies,” he said. “I’ve lived there for 30 years and have never known it to be this bad.

“I know they have lost some Cadres and other employees out there, and the ones they have are young and inexperienced. We need to figure this out before it gets any worse.”

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