The Operational Development Section consists of the Planning, Public Affairs, and Research Units. The Section functions as staff for Colonel Mike Edmonson.
The Planning Unit is tasked with producing the Strategic Plan, Operational Plan, and the management of numerous federal grants. The Research Unit is responsible for the development of policy and procedure, legislative concerns, general research and numerous special projects. The Public Affairs Unit is charged with all media relations, educational programs concerning the public safety, and providing support for events and programs of interest to the Superintendent.
The Planning Unit provides staff functions for the Superintendent and command staff. In particular, the Unit is responsible for developing, monitoring and administering federal and state grants; preparing the Strategic and Operational Plans; and analyzing statistical data for the establishment of priorities and allocation of resources.
During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the Planning Unit managed 8 federal grants and contracts, which exceeded $2.5 million. The grants and contracts were related to highway safety, criminal apprehension, law enforcement instruction, and new technologies for our personnel and facilities. Highway Safety funds were utilized for the enforcement of traffic laws, seatbelt and child restraint laws, and DWI violations. This grant’s funding is also a primary source of the Department's funding for safety education and public information. Safety for the officers as well as the public has been enhanced through equipment purchased by grants. In-car video cameras have been installed in every patrol unit, while new radar and lidar units have replaced older technology. These contracts have also reduced the state's liability by improving the methodologies and technologies used in the investigation and reconstruction of traffic crashes.
The grants and contracts discussed in the preceding paragraph are only those applied for, awarded to and managed by the Planning Unit. The Unit also assisted in the application process for grants totaling over $4.3 million for the Crime Lab, Patrol, Bureau of Investigation, Fire Marshall and Homeland Security functions. As the process of locating grant funding, applying for grants and managing grant contracts becomes more complicated, the Planning Unit will continue to assist the Department in acquiring the funding necessary to maintain a professional Louisiana State Police.
There was tremendous accomplishment within the Research Unit in the last several years. The Policy and Procedural Manual was re-created into a new document that will provide our personnel with a more organized and user friendly manual. Along with the new version of the manual, an updated database and archiving system is currently being developed and will be accessible on the DPS intranet. In addition, The Louisiana Revised Statutes, as they pertained to criminal and certain aspects of civil law, were also posted on the intranet. The Policy and Procedure Manual and the Revised Statutes became accessible to all personnel and eliminated the costs associated with printing manuals and purchasing statute books. The Research Unit has conducted numerous research studies to provide information that was used to develop departmental policy and procedure.
The Section became heavily involved with a safety task force comprised of LSP, The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), Risk Management (ORM), the Attorney General's Office, and other traffic safety partners. The task force, which continues today, was formed to address several areas that affect the public safety. The initial meetings resulted in the Troops being notified and consulted on construction sites being established within their Troop areas. In addition, a procedure was established that required the Troops to notify DOTD and Risk Management of serious and fatal crashes and any potential road hazards or situations that required immediate attention. Through this notification DOTD and ORM can replace missing signs, correct roadway defects, and reconstruct serious and fatal crashes before valuable evidence is lost.
Another proud accomplishment of the Section is the ongoing process of updated and revising all departmental forms and documents. This project includes removal of unnecessary forms and updating existing forms and documents as needed to comply with additional mandates and legislative actions. Many forms are being converted into electronic format that will be accessible on the intranet which will help to improve the efficiency of the department and allow for electronic storage and dissemination.
The Public Affairs Unit was re-established in 1996 when it was recognized that there was a need for a strong and viable public information and safety education program within the Louisiana State Police. Assigned the responsibility of ensuring that the media and the general public remain informed, Public Information Officers (PIOs) greatly improve the State Police's image as well as the public's understanding of what our organization does. PIOs are responsible for all departmental aspects related to media relations, public relations and public education. PIOs serve as the official spokespersons for the Louisiana State Police. Various programs targeted at educating children, parents and the general public have fostered a positive relationship with local communities, and have demonstrated that Troopers do much more than merely enforce traffic and criminal laws.
PIOs are available upon request to discuss numerous topics which affect public safety including:
Seatbelts and Child Safety Seats
Public Affairs Unit personnel, including supervisors, are certified as child passenger safety technicians/instructors by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association. Each Patrol Troop operates as a certified child passenger safety checkup station. The Public Affairs Unit PIOs coordinate/participate in at least one passenger safety checkup event every month.
Through the development and use of various safety campaigns, the Department has received recognition by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), the International Association of Chief's of Police (IACP) Chief's, and the United Safety Education Officers (USEOW) workshop.