At the very front of the parking lot of Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters, on the corner of Airline Highway and Connells Village Lane, there is what appears to be a police car graveyard. Do these cars just sit in the lot until they're sold for scrap? At the very least they could bring in some money for the department, even sold as is.
Sgt. Don A. Coppola Jr., a BPRD spokesman, says, "I believe that there was a total of around 90 units damaged as a result of the flood, but I am not familiar with the extent of damage to all of them. The vehicles parked on our lot are awaiting the determination from FEMA as far as how to dispose of them. I would not think they would be resold as working cars."
I've noticed quite a bit of debris in the Comite River. Usually you can see sand bars in the river; now it is running high, probably from the debris pushed into it during the flood. All it's going to take is another hard rain for it to overflow its banks. Why can't this be cleaned out?
"You are right; the high water event of last August has something to do with all the debris along the banks of the Comite and Amite rivers," says Dietmar Rietschier, executive director of the Amite River Basin Drainage & Water Conservation District.
"Some of the debris is natural: brush, tree limbs etc. But a lot is man-made debris. This becomes more critical after a flood.
"There are no state and or local regulations or programs to take care of this problem. Volunteer groups get organized when conditions get really bad. There is an active volunteer group that has been persistent over the years along Bayou Manchac and one along the lower Amite River, which is constantly trying to keep the waterways clean of debris.
"We need more volunteer groups along different segments of the river and that will make a big difference. Generally local governments will help in disposing of the trash."