Sheriff's office moves to new location
JDSO moves to new location
After over five decades in the courthouse, the majority of the Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office (JDSO) operations are in the final stages of moving to a new location.
Sheriff Ivy Woods began negotiating the purchase of the former West Behavioral Hospital several months ago, for the purpose of consolidating more divisions of the agency under one roof. The purchase was finalized in spring of this year, and the new facility is located at 1530 La. Hwy 90 west, just east of the new Jeff Davis Parish Jail. The new location will house many of the day-to-day public operations of the agency. These operations include divisions handling taxes, civil, occupational licenses, bonds, tickets and investigations, as well as administration.
Since the Jeff Davis Parish Courthouse was constructed in 1964, along with approximately 27 years in the former Coca Cola Bottling Co. building on Robert’s Ave., JDSO has been operating out of the same facilities until mid-September, when the transition to the new location began.
The additional property includes two structures: a smaller building at the front of the property previously used for outpatient services and the larger, main facility previously used to house patients, located further into the property.
The larger facility will house the administration division, commanders’ offices, detectives’ offices, the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) and public services operations involving taxes, civil issues, tickets, occupational licenses and bonds. The main building will also provide areas for meeting and training purposes, as well as allow adequate space for employee’s to work.
Prior to the move, administration, along with OEP, public service operations and communications were operating out of an approximately 4,000 square foot area in the main office at the courthouse, while members of the investigations and patrol divisions, D.A.R.E., and their respective commanders were operating out of the Robert’s Ave. location in approximately 2,670 feet of office work space. Although some employees will remain at their current locations, the new main office building will increase the agency’s operating space by over 11,400 square feet.
“It may sound like we are already working in a lot of space, but for a public agency of this magnitude, and considering all that we handle, it’s not,” explained Woods. “In every area of our operations, we have several people sharing small, cramped office spaces filled floor to ceiling and wall to wall with files. We’ve outgrown our existing facilities, and our employees have also been functioning out of old and outdated accommodations for a very long time. This move is long overdue.”
Woods also explained the new facility will provide more effective and efficient service to the public, while allowing more organization in a cleaner environment to both the public and agency employees. The overall move will provide employees with ample space in which to work, function and grow as an agency, as well as provide much needed storage for files and security for sensitive operations.
“Members of the public who must interact with our employees for public services will be able to do so quickly and easily,” continued Woods. “Although this move will require some adjustments, both on our part as an agency, as well as the public’s, we are confident it will ultimately have a positive affect on our parish and community.”
The current office space in the courthouse and CID building will still be utilized by the Sheriff’s office, but the operations to remain in those locations will now have more room to function. The courthouse offices will still house the sex offender division and supporting members of the civil and transport divisions. The former CID building, located on Robert’s Ave., will maintain impound, storage and fleet maintenance, as well as the D.A.R.E. and SRO offices.
“This is an exciting historical event for our agency and the parish,” continued Woods. “We are anticipating this transition to go fairly quickly and we are working to make it as smooth as possible. However, we ask the public to be patient as we complete the process. In the meantime, all of our contact information will still be the same, and we will continue to provide the same services to the public.”