DENHAM SPRINGS — A newly formed law enforcement task force has begun investigating drug cases in Livingston Parish, authorities said Tuesday.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and Denham Springs Police Department have created an inter-agency task force that officials with those agencies said they hope would grow to include more members.
It gives the agents more flexibility, Denham Springs Police Chief Scott Jones said.
“What’s so great for us is that we are able to move all over the parish” under this new program, he said. “You never know where it’s going to be hot with drugs.”
Drug dealers don’t just operate inside or outside of city limits, said Jason Ard, chief criminal deputy of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“Whatever goes on inside the city is connected outside,” he said.
The new entity, called the Livingston Parish Inter Agency Task Force, sets up a formal operation in which agents from both agencies can work together to make undercover purchases and other cases inside or outside of the city limits, Ard said.
Both the Sheriff’s Office and Denham Springs Police Department have assigned three people to work together on the task force and the Walker Police Department is considering assigning an officer to the group as well, Ard said.
State Police would help whenever needed, he said.
Jones said the three officers he has assigned to the task force will continue to carry out duties within the city.
City police and the Sheriff’s Office have worked together in the past, but “creation of the task force allows us to share resources and formalizes that with a written agreement,” said Perry Rushing, chief of operations for the Sheriff’s Office.
The new task force made its first arrests last week in Denham Springs while seizing heroin, oxycodone and a number of stolen items, including guns, Ard said.
He said the task force also has been working on a number of other cases.
The Livingston Parish Inter Agency Task Force is separate from the Tri-Parish Narcotics Task Force to which the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office also contributes manpower and receives benefits, Ard said.
The tri-parish organization operates in Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes, he said.