The Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff's Office Patrol Division includes Patrol Deputies that work the parish in twelve (12) hour shifts. There are Patrol Supervisors that co-ordinate shifts, vehicles, personnel, and make sure all areas of the parish are sufficiently covered.
The Patrol Division is under the command of Commander Douglas Britnell, who leads the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division with 24 years of law enforcement experience.
Patrol Commander Douglas Britnell
Commander Britnell graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois in 1991, with a degree in Theology, before beginning his career in law enforcement with the Coushatta Police Department in 1996.
The following year he graduated from the Calcasieu Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy in Lake Charles, Class of the 60th Basic Academy. In 1999, he joined the Patrol Division of the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office and was promoted to Patrol Shift Supervisor in 2003.
Over the next several years, he became a certified instructor in various fields, including but not limited to, the National Academy for Professional Driving (NAPD) Instructor, a certified Louisiana P.O.S.T. Instructor and Firearms Instructor, as well as numerous Advanced Tactical Firearms Training.
In 2010, Commander Britnell received the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year Award.
The following year, he continued his educational training when he graduated from the nationally recognized School of Police Staff and Command, Class 315, through Northwestern University, Center for Public Safety, in Evanston, Illinois. That same year, he also received his certification as a Field Training Officer from the Institute of Police Technology, University of North Florida, as well as completed Enforcement Rapid Response Training through Texas State University of San Marcos, Texas. He was also certified as a Defense Tactics Instructor.
His training continued when in 2013, he was certified as a Taser Instructor and then in 2015, an OC and Less Lethal Impact Munitions Instructor.
Commander Britnell was placed in command of the Patrol Division in 2016, where he continues to utilize his patrol experience to lead the division. He also uses his various specialized skills to train multiple agencies, as well as to formulate and execute active shooter classes, along with various other tactical training exercises.
Some Common Charges and Procedures
Some of the most often asked questions regarding law enforcement involve some of the more common encounters with the public, as well as some often misconceptions regarding traffic laws.
Proper procedure to approach an authorized emergency vehicle or pass a parked emergency vehicle: La. RS 32:125 - When driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction as the emergency vehicle (as defined in La. RS 32:1) slow to a speed of twenty-five (25) miles per hour until it is save to proceed at the posted speed limit, while also merging into the lane farthest from the emergency vehicle. When driving on a two-lane road, slow to a speed of twenty-five (25) MPH, or the posted speed (if is lower) until it is safe to continue proceeding at the posted speed.
ATVs on the roadway: Who’s exempt and why?
La. RS 32:299 - Off-road vehicles; authorization for use on the shoulders of certain public roads and highways; authorization for use on certain public property.
Off-road vehicles, such as three and four-wheelers, or any other all-terrain vehicles not specifically designated for road use, may travel on the shoulders of all public roads and highways, excluding interstate highways, solely for the purposes of farm-related activities within a five-mile radius of a farmer's farm. These areas may be traveled upon from thirty minutes after sunrise to thirty minutes before sunset, allowing incidental crossing of said public roads or highways.
The owner/operator of the operated off-road vehicle is required to possess a valid Class "E" driver's license and be able to provide proof that the off-road vehicle is covered by valid liability insurance. He or she should also carry a copy of the motor vehicle registration, proving ownership of at least one vehicle registered for farming activity, or a sworn affidavit attesting engagement of an actual farming business, under the provisions of La. RS 47:462.
Off-road vehicles may also be operated by university or college employees, law enforcement officers and certified emergency technician-paramedics in the course and scope of their employment on streets within the boundaries of state-owned colleges and universities, allowing incidental crossings of public roads or highways.
What to do when you encounter law enforcement:
When encountering law enforcement at any level, proper protocol is required during interviews, traffic stops or questioning.
During a traffic stop, keep your hands where police can see them. If requested, you must provide your drivers license, registration and proof of insurance. Do not lie or give false documents or information. Officers may also ask that you step outside of the vehicle, as well as separate passengers and drivers during questioning.
Stay calm, be polite, cooperate and do not run.
Police officers have a dangerous job, even if you feel they are contacting you unjustly. Do not interfere with or obstruct the police. When given a direct lawful order by law enforcement, comply immediately. It is not your job to determine what is or is not illegal police conduct. Do not confront law enforcement over what they can and cannot do; it will not be helpful to your situation. Confrontational behavior with a police officer may escalate, causing you to end up with further charges.
If the officer has reasonable suspicion a subject might be armed and dangerous, a pat-down of the outside of his or her clothing may be performed for officer safety.
If the officer says you are not under arrest, but you are not free to go, then you are being detained. Being detained is not the same as being arrested, however, depending on the circumstances, an arrest could follow.
Resisting an officer: The act of resisting an officer (defined in La. RS 40:2402 as any deputy sheriff, municipal police officer, probation and parole officer, city marshal or deputy, as well as any wildlife enforcement agent) can fall under the umbrella of any form of non-compliance during an encounter.
La. RS 14:108 - Resisting an officer is the intentional interference with, opposition or resistance to, or obstruction of an individual acting in his official capacity and authorized by law to make a lawful arrest, lawful detention, seizure of property or to serve any lawful process or court order when the offender knows or has reason to know that the person arresting, detaining, seizing property or serving process is acting in his official capacity. Refusing to provide a name, refusing to make your identity known to the arresting officer or to provide false information regarding the identity of the arrested party to the arresting officer, constitutes as resistance. Prohibited lights around license plates: La. RS 32:333 - Except for antique automobiles, the use of neon lights around license plates, or the use of any other lights which obscure the clear view of motor vehicle license plates for motor vehicles, is prohibited.
Older model vehicles are exempt from having a light over the license plate. No license plate frames or holders should obscure any information on the license plate itself.
The plate should also be currently valid, clearly visible and mounted to the car in the proper place in a manner that is free of obstruction. All of the numbers and letters should be clearly visible, as well as any other identifying markers. Plates should be checked and cleaned periodically to be sure they are free of debris, mud or dirt. Protective plastic license plate covers are banned in some states, as they can cause a glare or reflection that could be dangerous for other drivers. Entry on, or remaining after being forbidden: La. RS 14:63.3 - No person shall, without authority, go into or upon, remain in or upon, attempt to go into or upon or remain in or upon any structure, watercraft, or any other movable or immovable property, which belongs to another. This includes public buildings and structures, ferries and bridges or any part, portion, or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, including by mean of any sign hereinafter described, by an owner, lessee or custodian of the property or any other authorized person. If a property has visible posted signs forbidding the presence of unauthorized people, or if the property owner or responsible party has encountered the individual and instructed him or her to leave the premises, the offender must leave the property. If the individual returns after the fact, this constitutes remaining after being forbidden. Criminal Trespass: La. RS 14:63 - No person shall enter any structure, watercraft or movable property owned by another without express, legal or implied authorization. Nor shall anyone enter upon any immovable property owned by another without express, legal or implied authorization. No person shall remain in or upon property, movable or immovable, owned by another without express, legal or implied authorization.
This constitutes the forbidden presence of an individual in or on private property. Who may enter or remain upon the structure, watercraft, movable or immovable property of another? - A duly commissioned law enforcement officer in the performance of his duties. - Any firefighter, whether or not a member of a volunteer or other fire department, and any employee or agent of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry engaged in locating and suppressing a fire. - Emergency medical personnel engaged in the rendering of medical assistance to an individual. - Any federal, state or local government employee, public utility employee or agent engaged in suppressing or dealing with an emergency that presents an imminent danger to human safety or health or to the environment. - Any federal, state or local government employee, public utility employee or agent in the performance of his or her duties when otherwise authorized by law to enter or remain on immovable or movable property. - Any person authorized by a court of law to enter or remain on immovable property. - Any person exercising the mere right of passage to an enclosed estate, as otherwise provided by law.
The following persons may enter or remain upon immovable property of another, unless specifically forbidden to do so by the owner or other person with authority, either orally or in writing: - A professional land surveyor or his authorized personnel, engaged in the Practice of Land Surveying, as defined in La. RS 37:682. - A person, affiliate, employee, agent or contractor of any business, which is regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission or by a local franchising authority or the Federal Communication Commission under the Cable Reregulation Act of 1992 or of a municipal or public utility, while acting in the course and scope of his employment or agency relating to the operation, repair or maintenance of a facility, servitude or any property located on the immovable property which belongs to such a business. - Any person making a delivery, soliciting or selling any product or service, conducting a survey or poll, a real estate licensee or other person who has a legitimate reason for making a delivery, conducting business or communicating with the owner, lessee, custodian or a resident of the immovable property, and who, immediately upon entry, seeks to make the delivery, to conduct business or to conduct communication. - An employee of the owner, lessee or custodian of the immovable property while performing his duties, functions and responsibilities in the course and scope of his employment. - The owner of domestic livestock or his employees or agents while in the progress of retrieving his domestic livestock that have escaped from an area fenced to retain such domestic livestock. - The owner of a domestic animal while in the sole process of merely retrieving his domestic animal from immovable property and not having a firearm or other weapon on his person. - Any candidate for political office or any person working on behalf of a candidate for a political office - The owner or occupant of a watercraft or vessel traveling in salt water engaged in any lawful purpose for the purpose of retrieval of his property or for obtaining assistance in an emergency situation.
The Jefferson Davis Sheriff's Office currently utilizes two certified K-9 Deputies who aid in the fight against illegal drugs: K-9 Deputies Christopher LaFleur and Chris Wallace.
Deputy LaFleur works with a multi-purpose dog, Bean, a German Shephard, that performs a multitude of duties, some of which include tracking, locating illegal narcotics and area and building searches.
Tracking involves searching for subjects who have fled a scene, as well as helping to locate lost citizens. Bean is also able to seek out and detect illegal narcotics in a variety of settings, including residential and in vehicles.
Deputy Wallace works with Buck, a Belgian Malanois. Buck has been trained in narcotics, tracking, apprehension and handler protection.
All Sheriff’s Office K-9 Deputies and their canines go through extensive training and are certified in all aspects of their duties.
Canines are trained to indicate the presence of drugs, regardless of the quantity. All dogs and handlers undergo regular maintenance-training in order to be familiar with new substances and maintain sharpened senses.
The Sheriff's Office uses the K-9 Unit in everyday duties on patrol, and the K-9 team may be called upon to assist any other Sheriff's Department division, as well as other agencies requesting assistance within the parish.
K-9 Deputy Chris Wallace and Buck.
K-9 Deputy Christopher LaFleur and Bean