BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — There is a new East Baton Rouge Sheriff substation in the Gardere area. It's not just a big day for the Sheriff's Office, but for the entire Gardere community.
Gardere... most people in our area know it as a place with heavy crime. East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said this area makes up quite a few of their calls.
"The Gardere area now counts for about 30% of all of our calls of service each year,'" Gautreaux said.
Even though crime has gone down in Gardere over the years, there's still some work to do.
"We still have problems here, but because of the collaborative effort between all of us, we've been able to address those problems," Gautreaux said.
So, the Sheriff's office decided to collaborate with L'Auberge Casino and Hotel and the people in the community to have a stronger presence in the Gardere area. That's why this new substation is here.
"I think one of our city councilmen said it best, 'Any efforts of law enforcement are short-lived without the community involvement,'" Gautreaux said.
Community members like Murelle Harrison. Harrison is part of the Gardere Iniative, a group of residents, community leaders, and churches who want to make the Gardere neighborhood safer, especially for children.
"The more they see deputies walking down the streets and knowing that they're concerned about they're safety, it's changing perceptions," Harrison said.
The group has been working with the Sheriff's Office for years to get something done about the crime. Now, Harrison thinks more deputies will help break down barriers between law enforcement and residents.
"I think it's changing perception both ways, that the deputies are going to become more acquainted on a personal level as well as the residents becoming acquainted," Harrison said.
Harrison hopes this is just the beginning.
"Well I think it can serve as a model for other communities," Harrison said. "That's another thing, we hope that other communities that have facing challenges, whether it's crime, drugs, or whatever, is that they can that when a group of people come together that you can really make a difference."
The new station will house 35 EBRSO employees. As for the substation on Burbank isn't going away. It will now house the Sheriff's Traffic Division.
If you would like to learn more about the Gardere Initiative, you can click the link below:
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