The Fatal Accident Reduction Enforcement program, or F.A.R.E., was originally developed in the 1960s by the Federal Department of Transportation. It provided money to officers to work overtime in order to enforce DWI laws.
Since that time, multiple overtime programs have been developed to enforce traffic regulations. Those include seatbelt enforcement, DWI checkpoints, Motor Carrier Safety and normal speed enforcement.
"For years now, the people of Calcasieu Parish have told me that those who use the system should pay for the system. The Local Area Compensated Enforcement Program (L.A.C.E.) provides the opportunity for this to happen," says Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier.
The Local Agency Compensated Enforcement program, or L.A.C.E., became a part of Louisiana law enforcement in the 1980s after the Louisiana State Police severally suffered from a lack of state funding. Troopers were depleted because there were no academies. L.A.C.E. was patterned after previous programs to put more troops on the roads when the state couldn’t. The program expanded to local jurisdictions.
It has been run on-and-off in southwest Louisiana since the 1980s, but it has been running full time since 2008. Crashes inside the city of Lake Charles have decreased each year since the Lake Charles City Police Department began participating in the program. In 2013, the number of crashes decreased by over 9% from 2012 largely because of L.A.C.E.
"Local law enforcement agencies are authorized and paid by the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office to work overtime details to enforce traffic and other laws," says DeRosier.
Law Enforcement agencies have complete control over when and where officers work, which allows them to place officers in high crash and high crime areas around the parish. The District Attorney’s Office reimburses agencies for salaries and vehicle maintenance and purchases equipment for these agencies with funds from the program.
"The revenue generated from this program is used to fund not only the operation of the District Attorney's Office but has already been used to acquire vehicles for law enforcement agencies, various types of equipment (such as automated speed indicating trailers), significant funding for the Calcasieu Parish Public Defender's Office, as well as the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Early Intervention Program in elementary schools."
Revenue from L.A.C.E. funds expenditures for the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office, while a portion also goes to the Sulphur City Marshall’s Office. As of May 1, 2014, a portion is also going to the Public Defender’s Office.