In 1968, Congress enacted the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act that channeled federal monies to local and state law enforcement agencies. In Louisiana, then Governor John McKeithen issued Executive Order #59, which created the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice (LCLE). The LCLE was created for the purpose of conducting comprehensive criminal justice planning and to disburse the federal dollars under provision of the Safe Streets Act.
The Commission was given many broad functions, none more important than the following: To bring together persons most familiar with problems of law enforcement and the administration of criminal justice, including the disposition and treatment of persons convicted of crime for the purpose of studying and encouraging the adoption of methods by which law enforcement can be made more effective and justice administered more efficiently and fairly to the end that citizens may be more fully protected.
Well, cooperation and collaboration to this extent among law enforcement agencies (Sheriff’s and Police Department, courts, prosecutors, etc.) was indeed a new concept; however, a similar concept was in place throughout the state for the purpose of promoting economic and industrial development. The state had been delineated into eight (8) regional geographical areas called Economic Development Districts. Each of these areas had formed a non-profit organization composed of local public officials. These organizations, in 1969 when they learned of the passage of the Safe Streets Act, approached LCLE for the purpose of functioning as the local law enforcement advisory committees in an effort to implement the comprehensive planning requirement. This was the actual birth of the local law enforcement planning district function.
In North Louisiana the local economic development district was the Northwest Economic Development District, Inc. Through an agreement with the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement this agency served as the district law enforcement advisory committee for the ten (10) northwest parishes during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1973 a split of the district separating the two urban parishes (Caddo and Bossier) from the rest of the district took place with the formation of two separate entities, one of which was the Caddo-Bossier Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Inc. comprising the parishes of Caddo and Bossier and the other was the Northwest Law Enforcement Planning District, Inc. comprising the parishes of Bienville, Claiborne, Lincoln, Red River, Desoto, Sabine, Natchitoches and Webster.
This arrangement of two districts continued until 1976 when the ten parish area decided to combine into one district called the Northwest Law Enforcement Planning Agency, Inc. The new agency was formed for the sole purpose of criminal justice planning activities for the entire ten parish area and was recognized by the state through the signing of Executive Order No. 76-3 by then Governor Edwin W. Edwards.
Northwest is governed by a board of directors of 21 persons representing all parishes and all facets of criminal justice. The District has an operating budget of approximately $115,000 and annually passes through to member agencies an estimated $1.6 million in state and federal dollars in the forms of grants and training reimbursements.
During the past 35 years, the following individuals have served as president of the organization:
J.R. Oakes, Sheriff, Claiborne Parish; 1976 – 1/13/87
Vol Dooley, Sheriff, Bossier Parish; 1/13/87 – 9/13/88
James Brumley, Sheriff, Sabine Parish; 9/13/88 – 9/13/94
Don Hathaway, Sheriff, Caddo Parish; 9/13/94 – 9/10/96
Larry Deen, Sheriff, Bossier Parish; 9/10/96 – 7/10/01
Steve Prator, Sheriff, Caddo Parish; 7/10/01 –
In 1985, Northwest District contracted with Red River Delta Law Enforcement District to serve as the administrative staff for the ten (10) Northwest Parishes in the Shreveport area. The staff, consisting of three (3) employees; Director, Assistant Director and Grant Manager are housed in Alexandria, LA and administer all grant paperwork for the ten (10) parishes comprising the Northwest District.
In 2020, we celebrate our 44th year of existence as a local law enforcement planning council. During the 44 years as Northwest and the 7 years as local law enforcement advisory group and Caddo-Bossier Coordinating Council more than $100,500,000.00 in state and federal funds have passed through the organization in grants to criminal justice agencies throughout Northwest Louisiana.