LAFAYETTE — Since it was unveiled in January, the Lafayette Police Department’s “Armadillo” surveillance unit has been deployed more than 60 times in locations across the city, an official said this week.
Lafayette police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton called the unit the department’s “eyes on the street.”
The armored truck is equipped with surveillance cameras, which allows officers to leave the truck unmanned in front of problem homes, street corners and in nuisance areas.
The unit’s deployment in January was delayed while the department opted to install additional surveillance features, Mouton said.
The vehicle is also currently awaiting service for an electrical issue.
“There’s something that’s hooked up to the battery that continues to drain it,” Mouton said.
A technical support team will travel to Lafayette to “figure out what device is tapping into that power source,” Mouton said.
Once the problem is corrected, Mouton said, “then the vehicle will be used on a more frequent basis.”
The areas chosen so far were locations that had various issues involving criminal activity and/or quality-of-life issues, Mouton said.
Those locations were identified through crime data and specific input from precinct commanders.
The locations were then prioritized by the department’s Patrol Division commander, who received input from the four precincts and the units of Patrol Support, Mouton said.
The areas targeted so far:
• 100 to 300 blocks of McKinley Street in an area known as “The Strip.”
• East Gillman Road, where Habitat for Humanities has several homes under construction.
• Walker Road and North Loop Street.
• 200 Van Buren Drive, in Victory Village, formerly known as Country Acres.
• 100 block of East Pine Street.
An official with Habitat for Humanities was at a conference out of town and unable to be reached Friday.
A call to Victory Village was not returned Friday afternoon.
Mouton said the areas chosen were areas where “we’ve had continuous problems.”
The results, thus far, “have been outstanding,” Mouton said.
He said the department continues to evaluate other locations for possible deployment in the future.