The cost of crime is extremely high. The cost of protecting law-abiding citizens against crime is becoming more and more of a burden on small towns and their often understaffed and underfunded police departments.

Perhaps St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz has an idea that could at least help in the questions of money, training, and staffing.

The St. Landry Sheriff cites recent requests for proposals from the towns of Arnaudville, Melville, and Washington as a basis for his thoughts. And according to a report published on KLFY TV, those thoughts could turn into real dollars for the communities affected.

If you do the math, Sheriff Guidroz's proposals will save those communities a significant amount of money compared to the price they are paying to fund their own departments. Remember that cost not only includes manpower but equipment, training, and availability.

In many cases, smaller community police forces provide duplicate services to those provided by the Sheriff's department, but not always.

Community leaders in those towns and other smaller municipalities will certainly be facing conversations similar to the one leaders in those three St. Landry Parish communities are already having in the coming years. The question most civic leaders are asking centers around concerns about the quality of law enforcement in their community.

I can understand that.

It will be up to each community's leaders to make the best decision they can as they balance safety and security over the cost of safety and security. Could we be entering the age of parish-wide police forces in the near future? It sure seems like it's an idea whose time has come, especially with the way governments are having to battle the budget every year.