Comprehensive suspect database in works for Iberville Sheriff’s Office

Staff Report

The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office is in the process of implementing new public safety software that will help provide deputies more comprehensive background on suspects.

Work is underway on software that can link the IPSO with a nationwide database that includes information on suspects, Sheriff Brett Stassi said.

The system through Central Square, based in Wellington, Fla., will put IPSO in line with some of the most advanced technology in law enforcement.

Work is underway on software that can link the IPSO with a nationwide database that includes information on suspects, Sheriff Brett Stassi said.

“This system gives the actual officer information and will notify the deputy of any previous charges against the suspect,” Stassi said. “It will make it much safer for deputies on a traffic stop.

“You never know what will happen on a stop, so it fine-tunes things so that if we take pictures out on the scene, it brings it on the file and we can get statements, and it will be put with the file,” he said. “It will make it a better operation for our office and assist in the prosecution once it’s sent to the District Attorney’s office.”  

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office has used the system for several years, and St. James Parish is currently coming on board.

“They’re gradually implementing it, but we’re still in the early stages of developing our plans,” Stassi said. “We will be provided with the basic structure, but it can be tweaked to our liking. It’s going to help us out a lot more.”

IPSO will link with the system at the same time the parish has had an increase in drug arrest and the seizure of illegal firearms, along with several shootings in the Plaquemine area in the past year.

“But in the same time, we’ve been very fortunate because of the tax base we have and being a good steward of taxpayer money has helped us, we’re able to improve vehicles, salaries, radio systems and the radio system and operating systems we transitioning to,” Stassi said. “We’re meeting with them on the upgrade.” 

The technology could give law enforcement firmer ground in prosecution of danger criminals in the wake of a ruling the U.S. Supreme Court issued one year ago.

On April 20, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal's decision in a 6-3 ruling, holding "if the Sixth Amendment’s right to a jury trial requires a unanimous verdict to support a conviction in federal court, it requires no less in state court." Prior to the adoption of Amendment 2, Louisiana and Oregon were the only two states that allowed non-unanimous verdicts. 

“With the new 12-member jury law, we have to be 100 percent right all the time,” Stassi said. “The pendulum always swings back and forth, and right now it’s swinging more toward the criminal than the law enforcement.

“We just had a crawfish boil recently for all our deputies, and I told them that this is a dangerous time to be involved in law enforcement,” he said. “We have to be 100 percent right and always be careful of what we’re doing.”