Jefferson police station opens

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office opened its new Third District Station in Marrero Wednesday. Deputy Chief Steve Lachute and Captain Larry Dyess tour the roll call room at the new facility.
Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office opened its new Third District Station in Marrero Wednesday. Deputy Chief Steve Lachute and Captain Larry Dyess tour the roll call room at the new facility.

After nearly a year of delays, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office finally unveiled its new Third District police station in one of the areas authorities expect to see a rush of growth in upcoming years.

Sheriff Newell Normand held a ribbon cutting Wednesday for the new 5,100-square-foot-facility on Leo Kerner Lafitte Parkway in Marrero. The project was initially supposed to be completed in February 2012, but issues with the contractor delayed the deal significantly.

The new station is part of the Parc De Familles development in Marrero, which is also the site of a massive new park being built by Jefferson Parish. That 614-acre park is expected to be the second largest park in the metro area.

Although the Sheriff’s Office is renting the site from Jefferson Parish, it has worked out a long-term lease agreement, said Col. John Fortunato, a sheriff’s spokesman.

The new building is two stories but uses the ground floor mainly for storage, Fortunato said. It will have its own generator, kitchen and shower facilities so deputies can use it during floods and other emergencies. Fortunato also said it is set up for the electronic download of incident reports.

With the new station, deputies can move from the current cramped location in Walkertown that had been rented from the Jefferson Parish School Board.

Construction of the station was delayed after problems arose in 2011 with the company handling the $3.2 million project, and then the owner of the company died in a motorcycle accident. Work on the project ceased for months, and the Sheriff’s Office declared the project in default, said Paul Rivera, the chief financial officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

Rivera said the Sheriff’s Office negotiated with the construction company’s insurer to select a contractor to finish the project and to rectify earlier mistakes. The Sheriff’s Office had more than $1 million worth of work still to be completed at that point, he said.

The Marrero station is part of $30 million in capital improvements done by the Sheriff’s Office that included several new police stations designed to serve as safe houses during hurricanes and other disasters. The Sheriff’s Office already moved out of its Second District station in Oakwood Mall into a new station on Manhattan Boulevard in 2011.

Fortunato said the sheriff decided on the Marrero site because it is well positioned for future growth in the parish and, just like the new Harvey station, is in a more easily accessible spot. Because both of the previous buildings were rentals, there were problems with access and maintenance of the sites, authorities have said.

Normand recently appointed two new commanders for the Second and Third Districts, Capt. Larry Dyess and Capt. Timothy Campbell.