It was recently revealed that the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office has acquired several automotic rifles (M-16's) from the Federal Government DLA Program. The Shreveport Times broke the story:
The issue is whether the DA's Office is an eligible agency to even receive these type of surplus items from the DLA:
"(A)suitable for use by the agencies in law enforcement activities, including counter-drug and counter-terrorism activities ... (d) ... the Secretary shall give preference to those applications indicating transferred property will be used in the counter-drug or counter -terrorism activities of the recipient agency." Title 10 USC, Section 2576a
The Louisiana Federal Property Assistance Agency's website states, "Agencies with law enforcement activities are defined as government agencies whose primary function is the enforcement of applicable federal, state and local laws and whose compensated law enforcement officers have powers of arrest and apprehension."
The 1033 Louisiana LESO Application contains a "Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Louisiana and the ___________ Sheriff/Police Department". The Application also ask the Law Enforcement Agency to list the "Number of Compensated Officers with Arrest and Apprehension Authority".
The duties of the DA are defined by LSA-R.S. 16:1 which states, "...shall represent the state in all civil actions, and shall have charge of every criminal prosecution by the state in his district, be the representative of the state before grand juries in his district, and be the adviser to the grand juries". No where does the law state that the District Attorneys "have powers of arrest and apprehension."
In regard to DA Investigators LSA-RS 16:13.1 states, "... they shall not have the right to make arrests, except as citizens under the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 214."
In other words, the DA is not a law enforcement agency nor does its employees, in their role as employees of the DA's office, have the powers of arrest and apprehension. If a DA, ADA, or DA Investigator arrests someone, then they are doing so under authority other than that provided to the DA (i.e as a part-time Sheriff Deputy). It appears that the DA's office does not have the power to arrest and apprehend and is not eligible for these surplus items in the first place.