Local Soldiers work with law enforcement agencies to protect businesses
By Sgt. Angela K. Fry
528th Engineer Battalion Unit Public Affairs Representative
LAKE CHARLES, La. – About 100 Soldiers from the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 528th Engineer Battalion in Monroe provided security assistance to the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Department on Aug. 30.
The assistance of the battalion was requested by Sheriff Tony Mancuso in anticipation of possible looting brought on by the pending landfall of Hurricane Gustav along the coast of South Louisiana.
“We want to protect our vital business infrastructure, mainly the drugstores in our area,” Mancuso said. “We appreciate any assistance the National Guard can offer.”
The Soldiers paired in two-man teams at businesses in Venton, Iowa, Sulphur and Lake Charles to provide assistance to the sheriff’s department and local police departments.
“You will not be out there on your own,” Command Sgt. Maj. Brent D. Barnett of Chatham, La., told his troops prior to the start of the mission. “Local law enforcement will be there for you so your safety is first and foremost on our minds.”
Barnett, who is a post-certified law enforcement officer and K-9 handler for the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Department, explained to the troops that the purpose of the mission was to show a secure presence for the residents of Calcasieu Parish.
The Soldiers pulled overnight security details for local businesses that were closed because of the storm.
The 528th is currently housed at LaGrange Senior High School in Lake Charles. The Calcasieu area is expected to receive high winds and a significant amount of rainfall in the wake of the storm.