To abate violent criminal activity in areas of Iberia Parish known for high crime rates, Sheriff Louis Ackal recently unleashed the IMPACT Unit.
IMPACT, which stands for Increased Man Power Addressing Crime Trends, are special units comprised of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office’s most experienced officers, said Public Information Officer Lt. Ryan Turner.
“The officers assigned to this division have been taken from different divisions like juvenile, narcotics and senior patrolmen,” Turner said. “It’s the more experienced and educated officers trained in specialized fields who are making up the IMPACT Unit.”
Within the first week of the unit’s inception more than a month ago, Turner said 13 arrests were made, and since, more than 40 suspected criminals have been arrested.
“The main purpose is to saturate areas of higher crime,” he said. “Based on the stats we’re getting it’s been successful.”
For Ackal, the IMPACT Unit is about tackling crime proactively and not waiting for a crime to happen and then be responded to in a reactive fashion.
“I’ve looked at getting a street crime unit for a long time, and if it works like it does in other areas of the country I think it will be successful,” Ackal said. “It’s about showing people on the streets who want to commit crimes that someone’s watching.”
Ackal said the new street crime units are focussing on areas like the West End of New Iberia and in Jeanerette where they are backing up the Jeanerette Police Department.
Jeanerette Chief of Police Larry Jones said he gladly welcomes the extra support provided by the IMPACT units.
“Anytime you get additional help it’s a big plus,” Jones said.
“You can never have too many officers on the road, especially around the holidays.”
Currently, Ackal said the IMPACT Unit is on a trial basis, and will eventually be assessed to determine its effect on thwarting criminal activity in high-crime areas of the parish.
Ackal said he is confident in the potential of IMPACT and its leader, Sgt. Ricky Boudreaux, who previously was in charge of the street crime unit for the Lafayette Police Department.