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Sheriff Eddie Soileau Addresses Ville Platte Rotary Tuesday


SEPTEMBER 23, 2014


    The Ville Platte Rotary Club , today (Tuesday) heard from Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau discuss a situation his department is facing after losing $300,000 in state funds . The cut in funds took place when his department failed to comply with certain state rules dealing with state prisoners. Sheriff Soileau said “I did not follow the mandates such as having a nurse and registered dietician on staff.” He said the state also wanted the department to have a working suicide prevention program in place.

   The state was paying the sheriff’s department nearly $25 a day to hold state prisoners as compared to the parish that pays only $3.50 a day for its prisoners. As a result of non compliance, all of the state inmates were removed from the parish jail.

   Sheriff Soileau said he could not afford to pay the additional expenses to comply with the state mandates.  Now with the loss of state funding, the sheriff said he will have to start cutting expenses by the first of the year. He warned the people of Evangeline Parish that the cuts could result in only having 2 deputies patrolling the entire parish. His department is planning to have some fund raisers such as raffles and BBQ’s to help purchase needed equipment for his department.

   He reported that it costs $10,000 to certify a deputy. He said once a deputy is certified, chances are he  leaves for a higher paying law enforcement agency. He said next year, the state will force law enforcement agencies to certify part time officers as well.

   The sheriff said “If you want law enforcement in Evangeline Parish, then we have to make some major changes. There is just no money to provide the services we need to do.”

   Rotarian Vic Slaven who invited the sheriff to speak told rotary members that the financial situation is critical with the sheriff department. Slaven’s C.P.A. firm handles the auditing services for the sheriff’s office.

   Also speaking at the rotary club was U.S. Congressman John Fleming who spoke about the military situation in Iraq and Syria. The congressman was asked by Rep. Bernard LeBas and Brent Coreil to work in helping us fund the four laning of US 167 between Ville Platte and Opelousas.

Ville Platte Police Searching for Burglary Suspect


During regular patrol on September 18, 2014 at approximately 3:15 a.m.  an officer in the area of the 600 block of Jack Miller Road observed a black vehicle parked in the area of local businesses.  As he approached the back of one of the businesses he observed a black male wearing a black hoodie and light colored pants running away from the building. The officer followed the suspect who then detoured through a field and between other buildings. The suspect evaded the officer.  When the officer returned to the building that the suspect ran from he also observed that the black vehicle was no longer in the area. An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy and other Ville Platte Police units arrived to assist in searching for the vehicle and suspect that had both fled the scene. Witnesses nearby stated that they observed a black Dodge Challenger traveling west from the area at a high rate of speed.  Dispatch was notified to contact the Eunice Police Department for K9 assistance in locating the suspect that fled on foot.  The K9 was able to pick up a scent and track the suspect but could not locate the suspect in the area any longer. 

During this time an Opelousas Police Officer observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle. The officer turned around and attempted to locate the vehicle and was unable to catch up with it.  This search led the Opelousas Police Officer into the Ville Platte City limits and onto Tate Cove Road. 

The owner of the business arrived and the owner and officers made entry into the building.  They discovered that the suspect had made entry into the business and that the business had damage to an outer wall.  An undisclosed item was removed from the building but the suspect was caught off guard by the officer’s arrival and left the item on the ground as he fled. 

Chief Neal Lartigue would like to thank the Eunice Police Department for their assistance with the investigation and use of the K9 unit and also the Opelousas Police Department for their assistance in the chase of the suspect vehicle.

Anyone who may have information on the black challenger in the area of Jack Miller Road at approximately 3:15 a.m. or the suspect that fled from the officers, is asked to call in with this information. Chief Lartigue stated that this vehicle was traveling dangerously through the city and may have been seen by someone.  “If you know who this vehicle belongs too please call the department and share the information.”  Chief Lartigue continued, “This driver put many people in danger including citizens of the city.”  Call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Meeting


SEPTEMBER 17, 2014


     The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) voted to extend an invitation to Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue to attend the next chamber meeting to address concerns raised by Chamber members. Mark Buller announced that his office was broken into a few weeks ago for the third time where his office computers were stolen. His neighbor, Dr. Phillipe Vidrine office was burglarized just last week. Chamber members were notified that other offices  including pharmacies were burglarized. Buller said “I have the utmost respect for our police” but he feels more could be done. The chamber agreed to invite the police chief to express their concerns over the rash of business burglaries.

    In other business, the chamber received a report from Col. Mike Borrel on the Louisiana National Guard Education Program. Col. Borrel said there are three Youth Challenge Camps in the state at Camp Beauregard, Carville and in Minden. He said these are not boot camps or prisons. They are targeted to  assist at -risk 16-18 year olds. The camp lasts 22 weeks and the goal at the end is to have the youth join the military, get a job or go back to school.

    Louisiana is the only state that has three such youth challenge camps. He announced that 1400 students from the program  graduate out of a total of 8000 dropouts. Louisiana has one of the highest drop out rates of students in the country(over 8000) and one of the highest rates of juvenile incarceration.

     The camp teaches 8 core components including leadership, citizenship, academics, job skills, life coping skills, health and hygiene, community service and physical fitness.

     Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Camille Fontenot told chamber members:

--the Dirt Cheap will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting Wednesday Sept. 24 at 8:30am at the old Ville Platte Wal-mart location;

--announced the new library facility will open for business Monday Sept. 22 with a grand opening Friday Sept. 26;

And reported that the Mamou Cajun Music Festival is planned for this weekend at the Mamou Recreation Center.

Ville Platte Police Charge Suspect with Attempted First Murder

Chief Neal Lartigue reports two arrests for
attempted first degree murder and other charges.

On September 14, 2014 the Ville Platte Police
Department responded to a call where a person was being followed and shot at by
two suspects in a vehicle.  Officers
located the vehicle on East Jefferson Street and initiated a stop.  Upon approaching the vehicle the officers saw
a .45 caliber pistol and a large Ziploc bag with multiple smaller bags inside
containing a green leafy substance that they believed to be marijuana in plain
view.  Also in plain view was a black bag
containing a digital scale, an undisclosed amount of cash and another bag
containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.  

Jamison Cortez Thomas, 25 of 512 South Stagg Street,
Ville Platte was arrested without incident and charged with attempted first degree
murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession with intent to
distribute a schedule I narcotic (marijuana), illegal carrying of weapon while
in possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of or dealing
in a firearm with obliterated number or mark.
Thomas was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and later transferred
to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office on a bond of $500,000.00 set by Judge
John Larry Vidrine.

Daquonnyie Thomas, 20 of 713 Parkview Apartment 107,
Ville Platte was arrested
incident and charged with attempted first degree murder, possession with intent
to distribute a schedule I narcotic (marijuana), illegal carrying of weapon
while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of or
dealing in a firearm with obliterated number or mark.  Thomas was booked into the Ville Platte City
Jail and later transferred to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office on a bond
of $500,000.00 set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.

Chief Neal Lartigue reminds residents to report
suspicious and illegal activity to help keep offenders off of our streets.  Call the Ville Platte Police Department at
363-1313.  Your call will remain
anonymous. ************************************************************



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The Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum operated by the City of Ville Platte is open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Come view the amazing artifacts, photos, records, Wall of Fame and hear the music. Admission charge is $3 adults, $2 seniors and $1 for children under 12. The museum is located on Northwest Railroad Avenue.

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