We have a city-parish form of government (in East Baton Rouge Parish). So, why don’t we consolidate the police forces into one agency? We have (Baton Rouge) city police, the City Constable’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office. It would seem logical that all of these could share space, equipment, funding, personnel and equipment.

In April, Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe placed an item on the council agenda to create a committee that will explore consolidating the city police and the Sheriff’s Office. This month, the council deferred an item to approve members of the committee. The concept has been explored in the late 1960s, late 1970s and as recently as 2002, when former Mayor-President Bobby Simpson created a committee to review city-parish efficiency.

There are some challenges to consolidating that law enforcement leaders have cited in the past. The challenges include the fact that police officers are civil service employees governed by a union contract and sheriff’s deputies are not. City police and the Sheriff’s Office use different retirement systems. The sheriff is elected and the police chief is appointed by the mayor-president. The agencies have different pay scales and different rules for promoting officers.

The entire parish is protected by the Sheriff’s Office, which covers unincorporated areas of the parish and provides assistance to the cities of Baton Rouge, Zachary, Baker and Central. Each city has a police department. The city of Baton Rouge is also served by the Constable’s Office.

Sex offenders

Can convicted sex offenders in Louisiana be confined past the end of their sentences?

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said convicted sex offenders cannot be held past their full-time release date but parole and good time release can be denied — under Louisiana Revised Statute 15:574.4.3(E) — if they do not have an approved residence plan.

That statute states that in cases where parole is permitted by law and the offender is otherwise eligible, the Parole Board “shall not grant parole to any sex offender … until the Department of Public Safety and Corrections … has assessed and approved the suitability of the residence plan of the offender.’’ In approving the offender’s residence plan, DPSC “shall consider the likelihood that the offender will be able to comply with all of the conditions of his parole,’’ the statute says.

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