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|Sheriff: 'It's a benefit to taxpayers'|
Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney agreed to allow other law enforcement agencies in the area to use the sheriff's gym at the parish rifle range.
It was a move Toney believes will help keep other law enforcement officers in shape and encourage more camaraderie among agencies.
The rifle range's gym was strictly being used by sheriff's deputies, but Toney wanted to open it up to State Police Troop F and Wildlife and Fisheries agents since those officers currently do no have access to a gym to work out.
"Troop F called up and said they had to close their gym because they didn't have any room, and Wildlife and Fisheries has never had a gym," Toney said. "We offered them this facility, and it's a benefit to the taxpayers because these guys are staying strong and fit and they're able to do their jobs better."
"If you're weak out there, you're going to get your butt kicked and it's going to cost taxpayers money paying for it," Toney said. "This way they stay physically strong, which helps them stay mentally strong."
New State Police Troop F commander Kevin Reeves said his troopers have enjoyed the "Christmas present" from the sheriff's office. One trooper has already lost 12 pounds since starting a workout regime in late December at the sheriff's gym.
"This is just another illustration of us working together," Reeves said. "Sheriff Toney is very good at giving others credit about the spirit of cooperation, but he should be given credit for taking a lead in this area by bringing everyone together."
"This invitation to use this facility is just another way of him doing that," Reeves continued. "We really appreciate it. The guys are having a great time and benefiting from it."
Reeves said Troop F also will make teamwork and cooperation among other agencies a top priority while he is commander.
Toney said Gov. Bobby Jindal has helped make law enforcement in Louisiana "one big team."
"I've been here 35 years and I can tell you the working relationship among the sheriffs and the state police, city police and Wildlife and Fisheries agents has never been like it is now," Toney said. "We're really lucky in the Troop F area. All the Troop F sheriffs agree this is the best we've ever seen it, and we want to keep it that way."
Toney said cooperation among law enforcement agencies paid off last week when State Police and sheriff's deputies took 40 pounds of narcotics off the streets.
"That shows good teamwork," Toney continued. "This is what we're looking for … everyone here working together. We appreciate this teamwork that we have with all law enforcement."