By Tracy Campbell
Guest speaker for last Thursday’s Minden Lions Club meeting was our own Lion Jason Parker, Webster Parish sheriff.
Sheriff Parker provided an update on the sheriff’s office and reported that 150 employees serve approximately 36,000 citizens across the parish. He said 20 deputies – both full and part time – responded to 3,838 calls in the past 365 days – an average of 325 calls a month. Those calls were everything from stranded motorists to domestic abuse to shootings.
At Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center at Camp Minden, 89 employees are responsible for operating the facility and supervising its 626 offenders.
Sheriff Parker spent a great deal of time speaking about the narcotics problem in the parish, of which he and his department have zero tolerance. In the past 365 days, three full-time narcotics agents including one agent assigned to the DEA task force in Shreveport seized approximately 1,866 grams of marijuana, 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, 6,800 dosage units of assorted pills, 800 ecstasy pills, and 35 firearms.
“A high percent of crime in our parish is related to narcotics activity – that includes thefts, robberies, shootings and disturbances,” said Sheriff Parker. “We’re doing what we can to get these drugs off the street, but please do what you can to protect your property. Criminal elements are constantly looking for opportunities, so lock your vehicles and homes and secure your ATVs and trailers the best you can.”
Shifting gears, Sheriff Parker said that he is proud that additional school resource officers (SRO) were allocated so that all schools in Webster Parish now have an officer present. He credited a partnership with the Webster Parish School Board, Minden Police Department and Springhill Police Department.
“Our children are our most valuable resource,” Sheriff Parker emphasized. “The deputies are not just present to serve as a deterrent against criminal activity, but also to build relationships with these kids. Those relationships can make a big difference in the life of a child, and they can be long-lasting.”
Other topics Sheriff Parker covered included the future women’s detention facility off Penal Farm Road (currently in the groundbreaking phase), plans for community firearms trainings, and the purpose behind the speed display trailers located in various places throughout the parish.
The Minden Lions Club appreciates the work Sheriff Parker – and all employees of WPSO – do to serve, protect and educate the citizens of Webster Parish.