Posts tagged ‘lake charles police’

71-year-old shot by LC police officer in stable condition

A local man was shot and injured by Lake Charles police Monday night, authorities said.

The shooting reportedly happened at about 11:30 p.m. when Cpls. Dwayne Petroski and Michael Nicosia were responding to a concerned citizen call at 1901 Mill St.

“The caller said a man was walking around the apartment complex waving a gun,” said Sgt. Mark Kraus.

Petroski ordered the man, Lincoln Frank, 71, to drop his weapon and shocked him with a Taser when he didn’t comply. Frank then turned the gun toward the officer, and Nicosia shot him in the hip, officials said.

The two officers, along with one other officer and a Calcasieu deputy, tried to handcuff Frank, who also attempted to pull a knife from his front pocket. He was taken to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and is listed in stable condition.

Deputies reportedly tried to place Frank in protective custody earlier in the day by order of Calcasieu Parish Coroner Dr. Terry Welke.

State police have been asked to investigate the shooting, and Nicosia has been placed on administrative leave, officials said.

Petroski has been with the department seven years, and Nicosia has been with it nine years.

This is the second shooting of a mentally ill person Nicosia has been involved in.

In November 2004, he was placed on administrative leave along with Officers Richard Harrell and Colby Thompson in connection with the shooting death of 48-year-old Edward Ned Jr.

State police conducted the investigation, and none of the officers was indicted.

Ned reportedly tried to attack officers. As the situation escalated, he was given oral commands, and pepper spray and a Taser were used before he was shot.

December 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Helping police respond

LC Crisis Intervention Team earns national praise, award
The cooperative team of law enforcement and health care professionals helps treat the mentally ill.

Lt. David Anders


Police work isn’t just for the cops, it’s a communitywide job, said Lt. David Anders with the Lake Charles Police Department.

On Friday, Anders received the International CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Coordinator Award at the CIT International Conference in San Antonio.

The 26-year veteran helped develop the local program.

On the law enforcement side, officers and deputies take a 40-hour training course to learn how to identify and safely deal with people with various mental illnesses.

In his current position as CIT coordinator, Anders said he serves as a single point of contact for police, mental health and medical officials. His counterpart at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is Cpl. Darek Ardoin.

“We mainly try to make sure each agency has what it needs, and we put training sessions together,” Anders said.

On the medical side, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital’s emergency room and mental health department operate a triage unit that includes overnight observation and has doctors, mental health specialists and registered nurses on call 24 hours a day.

Anders said this is a better alternative than locking up a person who needs medical treatment.

Spurred by tragedy
It’s been an up-and-down journey for the department and the program.

Anders has been involved in planning and implementation of the program from its beginning in 2004.

The push to start up the program was the result of a tragedy.

Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon had attended a conference in Memphis, Tenn., where the CIT concept was developed.

“He asked me to look into bringing the program to Southwest Louisiana, and as we were doing that we had the shooting with Mr. Ned at the high rise,” Anders said.

In the November 2004 incident, Edward Ned Jr., a mentally ill man, was shot and killed by Lake Charles police during a standoff in which he reportedly attacked an officer with a knife. “That kind of brought everything back to light,” Anders said.

Anders, Ardoin and local mental health advocates attended the Memphis Police Department’s training program.

“We brought everything back to Dr. (Cameron) Melville in McNeese’s psychology program and asked him to help us replicate the training,” Anders said.

As Dr. Melville mapped out the training for officers, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit, setting everything back about 14 months, Anders said.

In October 2006, one month before the first CIT training class took place, a second mentally ill resident was fatally shot by a police officer.

Trent Buckins, 29, was shot in front of Reynaud Middle School. The involved officer, then Cpl. Kimberly Almirall, claimed Buckins lunged at her gun.

“So now we’d had two uses of deadly force by us on mentally ill individuals,” Anders said.
The first class, with 14 officers from the Lake Charles Police Department and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, began the following month.

Since then, McNeese has held 12 classes and trained more than 300 officers from agencies throughout Southwest Louisiana.

“We have made it available to any agency in the state who wants to send people,” Anders said.

Dispatchers go through an eight-hour course on how to handle calls about someone who is suicidal or mentally ill.

“We make sure the dispatchers know it’s OK to ask if the person has a history of mental illness or if they are suicidal,” Anders said. “We want the officers to know what their (the suspects’) intentions are.”

Struggles for funding
The triage center was set up at Lake Charles Memorial with a $5.4 million federal block grant. It paid for the assessment and 23-hour observation unit for three years, after which officials hoped the state would take over.

Those hopes were dashed as the state faced a nearly $600 million budget shortfall because of declining revenues.

From June 2009 to February 2010, the unit was inactive, leaving police to revert to what Anders described as a revolving door for the mentally ill. Subjects would be taken to a local hospital to be treated and released.

“Our other choice would be to lock them up or take them to family members,” Anders said.

Even though the current program faces funding issues, mental health advocates said the program needs to expand, adding social workers to perform follow-up work and offer transitional housing, education and job training.

In February, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury approved $500,000 that — with another $200,000 from the state Office of Mental Health — should keep the unit open through September.

While the program remains on shaky ground, Anders is immensely proud of his work.

“Since this started, about 6,000 to 10,000 people have gone to the triage unit, and we’ve established a rapport with the nurses and psychiatric staff,” Anders said. “All of this makes a difference.”

The program has received national acclaim, and the state Department of Health and Hospitals uses Lake Charles as a model for crisis receiving centers.

Anders also said the program has had a significant influence on the police department.

“In the beginning, some older officers saw this as a touchy-feely program and, to an extent, it is,” Anders said. “But you’ve got people getting treatment in one place instead just sitting in jail overnight.”

“When I started in law enforcement, the mindset was that no one outside of the department could tell me how to do my job, but now we’ve brought everyone together: police, mental health specialists, pastors and educators,” Anders said.


July 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Police consider LC rape suspect ‘predator’

*published July 1, 2010

A Lake Charles man arrested on charges of home invasion and aggravated rape may have victimized other women besides the one he attacked Monday, authorities said.

Lake Charles police say Edwin Rivera, 19, of 1107 E. School St., sprayed a woman with Mace in the 3900 block of Auburn Street at about 10:40 a.m. and then forced himself on her.

He was apprehended near the home by off-duty Calcasieu Parish Deputy Edwardo Borda and Lake Charles police Cpl. Fletcher Idom.

Borda, who lives in the neighborhood, had been jogging at the time and saw Rivera walking.

Police Chief Don Dixon said that at about 11 a.m., Idom was on patrol and responded to the victim’s emergency call.

After a vehicle chase, Rivera fled on foot near Madeline and Common streets and was caught by Borda, he said.

Rivera remains in the Calcasieu Correctional Center on $75,000 bond.

“We think he watched the home for at least 30 minutes, and he knew the woman would be home alone,” Dixon said. “We feel he is a predator and want any other victims or people who have seen him in their area to call us.”

Witnesses and other victims may call Detectives Greg Single or Franklin Fondel at 491-1311.


July 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

LCPD’s newest weapon: data

*published June 20, 2010
Police track stats to help prevent crimes

Law enforcement is an ever-evolving profession, says Lt. Denise Hughes, head of the Lake Charles Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Division.

“Most of police work is reactive, but now we can pull together information to determine crime patterns and work from there,” said the 30-year veteran.

Once a week, members of the division meet to map out crime in the city.

The numbers in each beat, or section of the city, are compared to the previous week or month, and officers look at the circumstances of each crime and the day of week and time of day it occurred.

Some crimes, such as burglaries, may be broken down further to occurrences involving businesses, residences and vehicles.

The data, regardless of the crime, dictates certain actions by officers, whether they be patrol, shift supervisors or on special details.

Data shows most juvenile crimes last year took place late at night during the summer months. Juvenile curfew enforcement details tend to take place during that time.

The first quarter of the year showed a high number of burglaries in beats 6 and 12, resulting in a round of burglary details in the area.

Beat 6 is bordered by First Avenue, Broad and 12th streets and La. 14. Beat 12 is bordered by Interstate 210, Louisiana Avenue, McNeese Street and La. 14.

All in the details
During the week of June 14, the American Press was allowed to ride along on two burglary details and sit in on an intelligence briefing.

“We don’t go out expecting to catch burglaries in progress,” said Cpl. Jason Landreneau. “It has happened, but we mainly work to disrupt the things that make it easier to commit the crime.”

Part of that is gathering field intelligence. If you’re walking in a residential area and police stop to talk to you, they may also ask you some basic information, which they put on a field interrogation card.

“When you’re talking about high-crime areas, if we see a record of the same individual in the same area, and it has a rash of burglaries, our detectives have a starting point,” Hughes said.

These cards are turned in at the end of each shift and, within a day, a clerk enters them into a searchable system.

“My wish is that the officers can eventually enter the information in the computer right then,” Hughes said.

Years ago, law enforcers didn’t share information. They were very territorial, which would hinder solving crime or preventing it from happening, Hughes said.

During the two ride-alongs, officers filled out field interrogation cards for about 20 people.

“When we stop and talk to people and tell them what we’re doing, the one’s not doing anything wrong don’t have a problem,” Landreneau said.

Another important part of the detail is identifying vacant homes.

“We list them so patrol officers on each shift can know to check them periodically,” Officer Tim Milburn said during another ride-along. “We walk around the house, checking to make sure all doors and windows are secure.”

Owners are contacted and asked to secure the home.

Hughes said the vacant homes not only host sleeping vagrants and drug abusers, but officers also find them used to store stolen goods.

“The current state of the housing market, you’re not only having a lot of empty houses, but they’re staying empty for a longer time,” Hughes said. “‘For the sake of the residents, of course we should be checking these (vacant properties) regularly, so it goes back to sharing information that we get on details and across shifts.”

‘Keep them off their game’
Over the past two months, city police have run burglary details in beats 6 and 12 — two areas that posted the highest overall crime rates in 2009.

In the intelligence briefing, crime analyst Lt. Gordon Fontenot gave an overview of the affects of the details in the area.

Burglaries have dropped 25 percent in beat 6 and 8 percent in beat 12.

Unfortunately, earlier in the month, there was a small increase in beats 5 and 11, which border the two problem areas. The details shifted out to those areas, which are now posting decreases in crime as well.
“It’s obvious we’re chasing them out of those areas, but they tried to move somewhere else the next week,” Fontenot said. “They leave the target areas when they see police and then try to come back, but the numbers are not as high as before.

“I can’t say we’re gonna stop them entirely, but we keep a close watch, we move with them and try to keep them off their game.”


June 20, 2010 at 7:07 pm

LCPD: Juvenile arrests decline

17.5 percent drop follows national trend

The latest data released by the Lake Charles Police Department show a 17.5 percent decrease in juvenile arrests.

In 2009, there were 226 juvenile arrests, according to computer generated statistics provided to the American Press.

Since 2000, juvenile arrests in Lake Charles have steadily dropped, except for a 73 percent increase from 2006 to 2007.

The numbers then dropped 35.1 percent in 2008.

Officials said the 2007 increase in arrests does not necessarily reflect a massive increase in crime. City officials posted a 3.7 percent drop across all major criminal acts, with increases in homicides and juvenile crimes.

This was the year Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon dispatched a large number of special details to enforce the city’s curfew for teens.

The city ordinance says on Sundays through Thursdays, people under 17 cannot be out after 11 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays they cannot be out after midnight.

“We were getting a lot of calls from citizens who were seeing teenagers out at two and three o’clock in the morning,” said Sgt. Mark Kraus.

Most juvenile crimes in 2009 took place between 4 p.m. and 1 a.m.

In 2009, Lake Charles police arrested 226 juveniles and charged them with 346 crimes.
More than half of those crimes — 117 — took place May to August, when children are out of school.

The department has scaled back the number of details focusing on juvenile curfew enforcement, but the majority are still done during the summer months, officials said.

The most common crimes were curfew violations, simple burglary and theft of goods — which includes shoplifting.

In 2010, as of June 8, police have had 74 juvenile arrests.

The city’s numbers follow a national trend in which juvenile crime has dropped about 33 percent — with slight increases — since the mid-1990s, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The Justice data counts children ages 10 to 17.

Parishwide, the number of juvenile arrests are dropping, said Jeff Vander with the Calcasieu Parish Office of Juvenile Justice Services.

“We are steadily seeing fewer referrals,” Vander said.

After the arrest
In the case of curfew violations, on the first offense juvenile offenders are taken to their parents and both are issued warnings. The next offense brings a $100 fine, and with subsequent violations fines steadily increase and offenders and their parents could be subject to court appearances.

“We handle all intakes and diversions for juveniles up to the age of 17,” Vander said.
All Juvenile Justice curfew cases are referrals from the District Attorney’s office. There were 490 in 2009; 592 in 2008 and 781 in 2007.

In 2000, the Office of Juvenile Justice Services adopted juvenile detention models designed by the Annie E. Casey and MacArthur foundations.

The models focus on treatment instead of incarcerating juveniles, creating accountability for the juvenile and parents and providing any rehabilitation they may need.

A risk assessment interview and certain indicators like truancy, mental health and family relationships are also examined.

“When we started this, the only thing we were sure of was that continuing to place lowrisk kids in secure facilities only made things worse,” said Dane Bolin, director of the Office of Juvenile Justice Services.

The OJJS consists of three divisions — Intake, Field and Traffic.

In Intake, three probation officers handle book-ins to the Juvenile Detention Center, all criminal offenses and jail court proceedings.

The Juvenile Detention Center, a 35-bed facility, currently holds 14 juveniles.

Officers focus on using diversionary tools, such as probation, while the juvenile goes through treatment that includes family counseling or substance abuse counseling, if necessary.

Field officers enforce court orders and help formulate supervision plans with parents, counselors and law enforcers. The traffic division is part of probation and handles all nondelinquent traffic violations.


June 13, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Brothers arrested in shooting death


Two brothers have been arrested in the fatal shooting of a 43-year-old Lake Charles man late Monday, police said.

Darren Morgan, 30, and Jason Morgan, 29, were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Roy Edward Wyatt, said Sgt. Mark Kraus.

The shooting happened at about 11:50 p.m. in the 1600 block of Opelousas Street, near Shattuck Street, he said.

Half a dozen people were outside when an argument between two groups of child–ren and adults started over stolen property, police said.

After the argument broke up, one person returned with a gun, and witnesses recalled hearing three gunshots that fatally wounded Wyatt, Kraus said.

Darren Morgan turned himself in at about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, and Jason Morgan turned himself in just before 6 p.m., police said. Both are in the Calcasieu Correctional Center on $300,000 bond each.

Anyone with information on the shooting can call Detective Frank Fondel at 491-1311.


June 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm

First responders take part in simulated seige

Becoming better prepared

Actors play the role of a hostage and members of an extremist group that has taken over a barge on Lake Charles as the Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness and local law enforcement agencies conduct emergency responder exercises Thursday. BY BRAD PUCKETT

First responders and the U.S. Coast Guard spent Thursday morning taking part in a security exercise meant to simulate a hostage situation.

The exercise began on Memorial Day, when the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office began receiving information about terrorist activity and threats, said Cmdr. Matt Vezinot.

“We started narrowing it down to involving Southwest Louisiana and people upset about the oil spill,” Vezinot said. “That led us to determine it was domestic terrorism.”

The report of a stolen barge Thursday morning and the sight of “armed” terrorists on board took the drill into high gear.

In a real event, officials would have locked down the Civic Center, secured the area around the waterfront, and closed both Interstates 10 and 210.

The terrorists were armed with semiautomatic weapons, had two hostages, and were threatening to detonate a chemical bomb.


Officials first contacted the captors through a hostage negotiator. The terrorists were demanding that eco-terrorist prisoners be released.

When negotiations broke down, a tactical team prepared to board the boat, signaling the end of the exercise.

“A lot of it was about communicating with other agencies, planning and response to disasters, planned or natural,” Vezinot said.

The topic was chosen by the Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness and Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

“They developed the topic by looking at local industries and current events,” Vezinot said. “We began getting information just over the past few days.”

Vezinot said that regardless of the incident, everything depends on planning and communication between different agencies.

OEP officials said they would like to do at least three similar exercises each year.

“A lot of these things, we’d also do during a natural disaster,” Vezinot said. “There were some kinks where assignments got mixed up, and we wanted to straighten that out in practice.”

Participating agencies included the Lake Charles Police Department, state police, the Lake Charles and Sulphur fire departments, and Union Pacific Railroad police.


June 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Crime rate steady

*posted May 12, 2010
LC crime up less than 1 percent in 2009

Statistics for 2009 released Tuesday by the Lake Charles Police Department show a less than 1 percent increase in crime. This follows a decrease in 2008 of 15.7 percent. “I knew we’d be up this year, but (it’s) really less than I thought it would be,” said Police Chief Don Dixon.

“We would love to be able to show a dramatic decrease every year, but we indicated that it was going to be difficult to do that next year,” said Mayor Randy Roach.

There was an increase in all violent and property crimes except auto theft. There were six homicides in 2008; there were 11 in 2009. The number of rapes by force went up from 42 in 2008 to 47 in 2009; robberies increased from 169 in 2008 to 224 in 2009; and assaults and batteries went up from 1,430 in 2008 to 1,454 in 2009.

Property crimes increased 10.2 percent, from 5,077 in 2008 to 5,596 in 2009.

“I think this is a reflection of what’s going on, not only here locally in our economy but nationally,” Dixon said, noting the trend of crime increasing during tough economic times.

Burglary was up 22.7 percent; larceny and theft up 4.6 percent; auto theft down 9.4 percent; and arson up 25 percent.

Dixon noted that daily reports from the first three months of the year indicated an increase in these crimes.


Other criminal offenses — including property damage, DWI, disturbing the peace and trespassing — were down 9.9 percent.

Officials presented a breakdown of crime by 19 beats, or sections, of the city.
Across the board, Beat 6 reported the most violent and property crimes.

It is bordered by Broad Street to the north, First Avenue to the west, 12th Street to the south and Gerstner Memorial Drive to the east.

The computer-generated statistics are used to target areas like Beat 6 and assign officers to them.

“These officers don’t answer any calls while on duty; they just focus on these hot spots,” Dixon said.

He described an upward trend in juvenile arrests as “disturbing.” There was a 26.3 percent increase from 2008 to 2009.

“Some of the issues students are facing at home and school are the root of this criminal activity,” Roach said.

He said a May 6 meeting of residents and law officers at LaGrange High School was a good example of how parents can be proactive.

At the meeting, city and parish officials discussed signs and behaviors parents should watch for in their children.

“We want to keep doing things like this to make sure parents are aware of the problem and to give them the opportunity to be involved,” Roach said.

“We’re kind of now in a society that accepts violence, when you see the violent video games, the music and the attitude of ‘no snitching,’ ” Dixon said. “There is a change of attitude and it disturbs me, but it starts at home.”


May 12, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Arrests in drive-by

*published Mar 21, 2010

Six suspects linked to shooting that killed 14-year-old

In announcing arrests in the shooting death of a 14-year-old girl, Lake Charles police Sgt. Mark Kraus credited the community for calling in with valuable information.

Joshua Lambert and Sean Bernard Newton, both 18, and a 16-year-old boy were ar–rested in La–fayette on Monday for the March 27 drive-by shooting that killed Alexus Rank–ins, police said.

Three others — Marlin Kelly, Andre Broussard and Jarius Watson, ages not released and all of Lake Charles — were arrested Tuesday in connection with the case.

Each is charged with one count of first-degree murder.

The shooting happened at about 9:30 p.m. near the corner of Dixy Drive and Creole Street.

Nearby residents said Rankins was walking home from the mall when she was caught in the middle of a drive-by shooting and was wounded in the back of the head and neck.

“With the information we received, we learned (Lambert, Newton and the juvenile) had fled to Lafayette,” Kraus said.

They are being held in Lake Charles. There is no bond for a capital murder charge.

Kraus said the victim’s par- ents described Rankins — a seventh-grader at Oak Park Middle School — as a good student who enjoyed participating in drama club.

“She was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Kraus said.

While further complimenting the public on its valuable input, Kraus described one call that he was “saddened” by.

“We got one hushed call from a woman, who said she couldn’t let her husband know she was calling because he felt they needed to stay out of the business of this case,” Kraus said.

He said he was angered by the man’s “cowardly behavior,” that is, his voluntarily keeping important information from the police.

Kraus wouldn’t say if the vehicle and gun used in the shooting were recovered. He said detectives know who the intended victim is, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

Kraus said Lambert has a criminal record.

The lead investigator is detective Frank Fondel.

Anyone with information on the shooting can call police at 491-1311 or Crime Stoppers at 439-2222.


March 31, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Neighbors: Girl in crossfire of Saturday attack


A 14-year-old remained in critical condition late Sunday after being shot Saturday evening, according to authorities.

Around 9:30 p.m., police responded to a shooting near the corner of Dixy Drive and Creole Street, said Lake Charles police Sgt. Mark Kraus.

“Our detectives have been working on tips and would like anyone with additional information to call Lake Charles police,” Kraus said.

Neighbors said they believe the teenager was caught in crossfire and was not the intended target.

Kraus said they are still trying to determine the circumstances of the shooting.

The lead investigators are detectives Kevin Thomas and Kevin Kirkum.

Anyone with information can call police at 491-1311 or Crime Stoppers and remain anonymous at 439-2222.


March 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

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