BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – A local beloved rescue crew dubbed the “Cajun Navy” made up of citizen heroes who saved hundreds of residents during Louisiana’s unprecedented flooding disaster could soon find that in order to rescue neighbors, they will need a permit.
Louisiana State Senator Jonathan Perry (R) is working on legislation that could require Cajun Navy citizen saviors to obtain state-mandated training, certifications and even a permit before they rescue residents in the midst of crisis, according to WWL.
Perry said in a radio interview that there are two issues with law enforcement may soon to have with the ‘Cajun Navy,’ which is mostly a loose-band of Good Samaritans.
“At the end of the day, there are going to be two things that are going to be the hurdle when you approach it from the state’s standpoint,” said Perry. “Liability is going to be number one for them. They don’t want the liability of someone going out to rescue someone and then not being able to find them, and secondly, there’s a cost.”
Perry’s plan, according to him, is to de-regulate the ‘Cajun Navy’ by regulating it, with a waiver that citizen heroes would have to sign prior to going out and rescuing residents in times of crisis.
To Cajun Navy member Dustin Clouatre of St. Amant, Perry’s proposal doesn’t make much sense.
“How can you regulate people helping people,” Clouatre told WWL. “That doesn’t make sense to me.”
Perry released a Facebook video to clarify his proposal after he said it was being “twisted” by the media, saying the media was making it seem like he was trying to regulate the ‘Cajun Navy.’
“The intent of what I want to do is to completely unregulate it, to where our volunteers are not stopped from going out,” Perry said in the video.
“It is basically to remove any restrictions and allow people to get to our citizens quicker.”
Perry said that if members of the Cajun Navy continue on without his legislation, they will be stopped by law enforcement officials from rescuing residents past police barricades. Breitbart Texas’ initial report on the group found that each rescue vessel carries a local first responder—typically a sheriff’s deputy—aboard for the purposes of maintaining clear lines of authority and communication with officials.
Under current state law, citizens who cross police perimeters are breaking the law and could face punishment.
Nonetheless, Clouatre told WWL that it was the Cajun Navy who often knew the areas of flooding better than law enforcement because they often come from other jurisdictions to help with rescue efforts.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.