Denham Springs — The Denham Springs City Council is in the market to buy a car — a police “bait” car.
Miniature cameras and hidden sound equipment would be placed in the vehicle to catch would-be car thieves and burglars, Chief Scott Jones explained. It may also prove useful in undercover narcotics investigations, he said.
The city hasn’t discussed specific plans for how the vehicle would be used or where it may deploy, Mayor Gerard Landry said. Denham Springs leaders are waiting to see if grant money is available first, but the mayor said he is hopeful the funding would come through.
Jones estimates the equipment will cost about $13,000. The City Council voted Tuesday to ask the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement for two grants totaling about $6,000. One would pay for cameras, and the other would help pay for sound equipment, data storage and other costs. The city would pay for the rest of the program with funds generated through police seizures.
The department would also have to come up with a vehicle to outfit, but the chief and mayor said they may be able to buy a cheap used car or simply deploy one of the city’s older, less-used vehicles.
Car thefts aren’t a frequent problem in the city, Jones said. A few over the course of a few months would be a lot, he continued. But they can be tricky to investigate if the thief hits the interstate and abandons the car before he or she is found.
The video and audio tapes can be used to prosecute identified offenders, according to the council resolution authorizing the search for grant money.
In other news, the City Council approved the hiring of new city attorney Stephanie Hulett and also agreed to close streets to traffic in the Antique District between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday for the annual Spring Antiques and Crafts Festival.
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