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Ascension sees spike in high tech equipment after spike in crime

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GONZALES - Two people were shot, one of them killed, at a Waffle House last month. One week later, two people were shot at Freddy's in Prairieville, and there have been two more killings since Memorial Day in Donaldsonville. 

"Shootings, that's just crazy," said Edgar Haulard, a 40-year resident of Ascension parish who has noticed the spike in violence. "It's obviously getting worse. I just don't know if it's getting worse or if it's just a phase."

Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre told the parish council he wants to install gunshot detectors and increase the number of license plate readers.
"It's our job to keep Ascension Parish safe," Webre said. "We've solved more crimes by using LPR cameras than we have in a long time. They are really a great tool for law enforcement and it's like us putting extra duties on the street because it's extra eyes."

A license plate reader led to the arrest of a wanted suspect last month in Gonzales.

"Taking advantage of this technology is the smart thing for any law enforcement district to do, and that's what we are trying to do," Webre said. 

But even if the parish council gives its okay, the devices won't be popping up anytime soon.
The sheriff's plan still might need state officials' approval for the plate readers and shot spotters.

Haulard is okay with the gunshot spotters, but not so much the license plate readers.
"As long as they don't give any tickets, I'm alright," Haulard said. 

If all goes as planned, the new crime-fighting devices could be installed sometime after the summer.


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