Police chief asks for help _lowres

Advocate staff photo by STACY GILL -- Zachary Police Chief David McDavid was the guest speaker at Rotary’s Jan. 8 meeting. McDavid provided an update on the Police Department that included grants, equipment and statistics from the past four years.

Police Chief David McDavid provided an update of the Zachary Police Department during a recent meeting of the Zachary Rotary Club.

McDavid said the Police Department has undergone many changes in 27 years while located in the same building.

“We’ve outgrown this space, and we’re looking to build,” McDavid said. “We’ve scouted some properties, but now it’s a matter of figuring out the funding to make that happen.”

The Zachary Police Department is one of only three stations in the north Baton Rouge area that serves as a dispatch station for fire, EMS and all 911 calls.

To help with the influx of calls, the communications department received a $9,000 grant for a backup battery to ensure emergency calls are not lost during storms or power outages.

In the past four years, the department spent $15,000 to upgrade to a new phone system allowing communication with other law enforcement agencies.

Another newly added system links the department with Louisiana State Police and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office so the agencies can share information on arrests, cases, records and warrants.

“We can see their reports, and they can see ours,” McDavid said.

The evidence room has been expanded to make way for a new filing system that shares current case information with the EBRSO, Baton Rouge Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office.

“Some of the evidence dates back to the ’80s, so we’ve had interns from BRCC, LSU and Southern who have been working with our guys archiving and getting things into the newer system. They’ve caught us up to 2012, and all of them have worked really hard,” McDavid said.

A new refrigeration system was purchased for the preservation of DNA evidence, DWI and rape kit samples, and three new police units have been purchased thanks to a $100,000 grant.

“We’ve also received several grants from GOHSEP (the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) this year that have vehicle computers assisted us with our trailer to haul our four-wheelers and Mule (ATV), which we use while providing security detail at Zachary festivals, high school sports games and some concerts at Southern,” McDavid said.

Security cameras aimed at the back parking lot of the police station were improved.

As for personnel, McDavid said the department’s school resource officer and two DARE officers are an integral part of the department.

“We try to get involved and be of service to this community by going above and beyond the scope of our jobs as law enforcement officials,” McDavid said.

Zachary police officers participate in the annual Zachary Time Trials benefiting Zachary students with special needs and Special Olympics; host self-defense seminars for girls and women; encourage job shadowing and mentoring of Zachary High School students; and participate in community drug take-back days.

For information on the department, website at www.zacharypd.org.