OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — The Opelousas Police Department has received a $140K grant from the State of Louisiana for crime cameras.

Police Chief Martin McLendon says the money will be used to purchase and install surveillance cameras in selection locations throughout the city.

He said State Representative Dustin Miller secured the funds through the state’s Appropriations Committee.

“We have been hoping for this for a very long time, and now it will put Opelousas in a better position to bring safety and stay in constant surveillance of neighborhoods, especially those in high crime areas,” McClendon said.

So far 22 areas for placement have been identified, McClendon said.

Those locations are high crime or areas where the OPD has received calls about gun violence, he said.

“What I would say to the people of Opelousas, to those people, and especially to those in those neighborhoods.  People who are suffering and are hearing these gunshots not only will we continue to have officers but now we will have an extra set of eyes,” the chief said.

“We have a lot of young people who are randomly driving through the city of Opelousas, or maybe stepping outside of their homes or the home they are occupying at the time.  They fire off some rounds and go back in.  That is a bad habit and that is a bad practice.  Because of those drive by shootings, it will pick up the vehicle that is passing in the area.  It even may very well pick up a glimpse of the person who is occupying that vehicle,” McClendon said.

The community crime cameras will be the first for the Opelousas Police Department.

“This is the first I’m hearing about it, but I think it’s a good thing,” Resident Lance Darbonne said. .

There are other people who agree that surveillance cameras can help deter crime.

“First, it would deter people from doing things in the first place and if they do it they will probably get caught,” another resident said.

The Chief expects that in a few weeks the cameras will be up and operating. 

“That is evidence that can go to court to help prosecute the person(s) responsible for committing these crimes.”

He said AT&T and Cleco are partnering with the OPD.