The New Iberia City Council unanimously voted to enter into a voluntary agreement with the Lafayette Police Department for use of its SWAT team at Tuesday’s meeting.
New Iberia Mayor Freddie DeCourt, who said the newly formed New Iberia Police Department is working on creating its own SWAT team, so far has had the assistance of the Lafayette Police Department’s SWAT unit twice since the NIPD went up and running July.
“This is about the fact that we are in the process of building a SWAT team,” DeCourt said at the meeting. “The chief of Lafayette and our chief happen to be friends. They know each other. I’ve had three meetings with the Lafayette chief and they have offered to partner so we have a SWAT team.”
DeCourt said the agreement that will be signed between the two governmental entities will only be used for “big issues” in which the NIPD would need to have a SWAT unit.
“We’ve done it twice,” DeCourt said. “I was able to go out and watch and they really are a professional team and have been a great assistance to us.”
The mayor said the NIPD is beginning to conduct some of the operations that a SWAT team provides. Funding for equipment likely will be forthcoming down the road, he said.
“This is to allow the mutual aid to continue and they are being very generous to do that with us,” DeCourt said.
“So this is two departments, two chiefs, that have similar values of community policing and working together. That’s why this fits. It fits because Lafayette has many of the same philosophies that we have in our new department.”
In other business, the council voted to approve a certificate of substantial completion submitted by Five-J’s Construction for the renovations to the West End Community Center.
Architect Paul Allain said one of the issues has been a leaky roof, but the leak in association with the scope of the work has been completed.
However, DeCourt added there more leaks have been discovered and city government is waiting on the current renovations to be completed before starting on the new one.
“The roof has other leaks and I want to get those taken care of,” DeCourt said.
“I am speeding it up as fast as I can. We had to get this done first because I didn’t want to get in conflict.”