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 Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration on Criminal Justice (LCLE). LCLE was created for the purpose of conducting comprehensive criminal justice planning and distributing of the federal dollars under the provisions 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 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 effective and justice administered more efficiently and fairly to the end that citizens may be more fully protected.
Cooperation and collaboration to this extent among law enforcement agencies (Sheriffs, Police Departments, 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 Central Louisiana, the local economic development district was Kisatchie-Delta, named after the Kisatchie National Forest and the rich delta farm land located in the Central Louisiana parishes. The Kisatchie-Delta Law Enforcement Advisory Committee was formed in 1969 and a district planning staff consisting of a planning director and a secretary was recruited. Executive Order #30, signed by Edwin Edwards in 1973, officially designated Kisatchie-Delta as one of the law enforcement planning agencies.
This procedure to conduct criminal justice planning and process grant requests for LCLE action continued under the umbrella of Kisatchie-Delta until 1976 when the Red River Delta LEPC was organized. The new agency (RRD) was formed for the sole purpose of criminal justice planning activities and was a local effort of public law enforcement officials to declare their independence from the umbrella agency of Kisatchie-Delta. Red River Delta was, in 1976, recognized by the state through the signing of Executive Order #76-3 by then Governor Edwin W. Edwards. Red River Delta was named by Judge Guy E. Humphries, Jr. for the river valley that flows through the heart of the geographical district.
Red River Delta began with a staff of two (2) in 1976 and continues to exist today with a staff of three (3). The district is comprised of eight (8) Central Louisiana parishes including: Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon and Winn. The organization is governed by a board of directors of 26 persons representing all parishes and all facets of criminal justice. The District has an operating budget of approximately $265,000.00 annually and passes through to member agencies approximately $2,300,000.00 in state and federal dollars in the form of grants and training reimbursements.
In addition to being the criminal justice planning organization for Central Louisiana, Red River Delta has been under contract since 1985 to provide the same service to 10 Northwest Parishes (Shreveport area.) Additionally, Red River Delta was designated by the Louisiana D.A.R.E. Advisory Board as the state training center for D.A.R.E. programs and was nationally accredited as such an entity in 1994. The center was responsible for the training of 1035 law enforcement officers as D.A.R.E. instructors while being operated by Red River Delta. The center was transferred to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office in November, 2004.
In 2016 we celebrate our 40th year of existence as a local law enforcement planning council. During the 40 years as Red River Delta and the 7 years as a local law enforcement advisory group more than $100,000,000 in state and federal funds have passed through the organization in grants to criminal justice agencies throughout Central Louisiana.