Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office releases news conference video on Donaldsonville task force

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office logo is shown on a vehicle parked at the Donaldsonville municipal building.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office released the full video of the news conference held for the announcement of the task force between the office and the City of Donaldsonville.

The nearly 30-minute video from June 14 is available on the APSO YouTube page.

City of Donaldsonville officials and the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office have been working together to address an uptick in shootings. Aside from fatal shootings, officials have seen an alarming rate of shots being fired since the start of 2022.

During the Donaldsonville City Council meeting held June 14, members approved a one-time $50,000 for the Sheriff's Office to provide extra patrols.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said the task force is being proactive in light of the problems seen in both the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

Webre recently spoke at an Ascension Parish Council finance committee meeting about the possibility of bringing in license plate reading cameras and gunshot spotters.

"Those are the things that can help us solve some crime, along with good old-fashioned policing like we know how to do," Webre said.

In speaking about the curfew ordinance, Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan said Sunday through Thursday any juvenile under 17 must be off of the streets from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. On the weekend, it's from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In 2018 and 2019, Donaldsonville did not have any homicides, according to the sheriff. In 2020 and 2021, the city had six each year. So far in 2022, there have been three.

In answering a question from member of the media in attendance, Webre said some incidents have been connected to the illegal drug trade and social media taunting. Stimulus money on the streets and parents not being mindful of what their children are doing were other components he mentioned.

The sheriff also said he will now refer to the groups as gangs.

"These gangs are involved in the drug trade, they're involved with guns, I think they're involved in all types of illegal activity," Webre said.

While the department has seen an increase in "gun play," other crimes have not been on the rise.

 "They're doing it in numbers now we haven't seen before," Webre said.

APSO signed a contract in 1985 with the City of Donaldsonville to provide law enforcement services. Currently, 21 deputies are assigned to the city as part of the contract, which is just under $1 million annually.