Drug Awareness Resistance Educations graduations held at 4 St. Bernard schools; 5th-graders told the choices they make will affect their lives and parents told to look for warning signs of drug use
Parents must “stay engaged with their children,’’ including talking often with them and looking for warning signs to help prevent drug use and children must come to realize the choices they make will affect their future life, Sheriff James Pohlmann said at several D.A.R.E. program graduation ceremonies in St. Bernard Parish schools.
If necessary, drug test kits are available at pharmacies to test young people, the sheriff told parents. “If your child isn’t on drugs, hug them and tell them you love them. If they are on drugs, you still hug them and tell them you love them,’’ but look for treatment options to get to the problem, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Maj. Chad Clark, commander of Special Investigations including the Narcotics Unit, said it takes the kind of education effort given by Sheriff’s Office drug resistance instructors at parish schools to affect the drug problem in America. “We can’t arrest ourselves out of this problem,’’ Clark said, noting there still are overdoses and fatalities from drug use in St. Bernard Parish.
Several hundred 5th-grade students recently graduated the D.A.R.E., or Drug Awareness Resistance Education, program given by St. Bernard sheriff’s officers Lt. Lisa Jackson, commander of the program, and Sgt. Darrin Miller.
Graduations were held at Arabi Elementary, Lynn Oaks School, Gauthier Elementary and Chalmette Elementary.
The program, held in both public and private schools, was re-established in 2009, four years after Hurricane Katrina.
“Parents must stay engaged wih their children’’ on many levels and especially so when it comes to helping them avoid the peer pressure to get involved with drugs, alcohol or violence, Pohlmann told a number of large audiences of parents and students.
“Learn the warning signs of drug use,’’ in young people, he said, including:
– Loss of interest in things they used to do such as sports or reading. – Hanging around with new groups of friends unknown to parents. – Sudden attitude or mood swings. – Sudden problems connected with school and academics.
Talk regularly with your children and be familiar with their friends, Pohlmann said.
If parents see signs of possible problems, don’t be hesitant to ask what is happening and, if necessary, use home drug-test kits to make sure they aren’t on drugs, he said.
Maj. Clark parents can call the SID Division at 271-DOPE to make an appointment if they want to discuss any particular problem involving their children and drugs.
Taking part in D.A.R.E. graduations from the Sheriff’s Office besides Sheriff Pohlmann, Maj. Clark, Lt. Jackson and Sgt. Miller were Capt. Ronnie Martin and Capt Richard Jackson, both of the SID Division.
Three arrested for 38 vehicle burglaries in St. Bernard over months; Also, three booked and one sought over shoot-out in which no was injured, resulting from feud
|Booked with 38 counts of burglary and one of theft of a firearm were: Cody Holmes, 21; Greg Matlock, 19; and William Merritt, 24, all of eastern St. Bernard Parish. All are being held without bond in St. Bernard Parish Prison.|
An arrest of three people found at a house in eastern St. Bernard Parish early Dec. 20 has led to two of them and another man booked with 38 vehicle burglaries throughout the parish and the recovery of stolen items including a handgun, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Booked with 38 counts of burglary and one of theft of a firearm were: Cody Holmes, 21; Greg Matlock, 19; and William Merritt, 24, all of eastern St. Bernard Parish. All are being held without bond in St. Bernard Parish Prison.
The sheriff’s Patrol Division, answering a call of three men on the property of a home in the 7900 block of East St. Bernard Highway before 8 a.m. on Dec. 20, arrested Holmes, Matlock and a relative of Holmes, Christopher Holmes, no age available.
Sheriff’s detectives got permission to search the home of a relative of Cody Holmes, where property including a handgun traced to a recent vehicle burglary was found, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Further investigation by detectives Trey Delaune and Michael Schiro led them to book Cody Holmes, Matlock and the third man, Merritt – who wasn’t with the others on Dec. 20 – with the 38 counts of vehicle burglaries and one count of theft of the gun from a vehicle.
The burglaries had taken place over recent months in Arabi, Chalmette and the Poydras area of eastern St. Bernard.
After investigation, Christopher Holmes was booked with two counts of residence burglaries and one of possession of stolen property, but no vehicle burglary charge. He is jailed without bond on a probation violation hold.
Sheriff Pohlmann said the arrests demonstrate a growing problem of criminals simply looking for whatever unlocked vehicle doors they can find and owners leaving guns, cash, cell phones and other items in unlocked vehicles.
Information obtained from the arrestees matched evidence that virtually none of the vehicles burglarized had been locked, but rather the men had simply walked about pulling on door handles and finding ones they could get into without breaking glass, the sheriff said.
Separately, the sheriff announced three other men have been arrested and one is sought over a shoot-out Dec. 13 on Daniel Drive in Violet in which no was injured, which had resulted from a feud.
Two groups of men, one from Plaquemines Parish and the other from Violet, fired at each other in the incident, according to information gathered, the sheriff said. No one was injured.
An investigation by sheriff’s detectives led to the arrests of three men for aggravated battery with a firearm, with the last arrest on Dec. 20.
Still sought on the same charge is Jeromy Thompson, 18, of Violet. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
Those in custody include Keith Thompson, 22, of Violet, Troy Sino, 23, and Roy Ferrand III, 20, both of the Braithewaite area in Plaquemines Parish.
Thompson’s bond is $27,500, Ferrand’s bond is $17,500 and Sino’s bond is $25,000.
Associated Terminals donates 24 children’s bicycles to Sheriff’s Office to give to needy St. Bernard families
Associated Terminals, exclusive operator of the Port of St. Bernard’s marine facilities, has donated 24 children’s bicycles to the Sheriff’s Office to give to needy St. Bernard families for Christmas.
Sheriff James Pohlmann said recipients of the bicycles have been chosen.
Associated Terminals, one of the largest midstream stevedoring companies on the Mississippi River, operates a fleet of high-capacity floating cranes at 11 facilities including at Chalmette Slip in St. Bernard Parish, in Plaquemines Parish and in Reserve.
Sheriff Pohlmann met Dec. 20 with Associated Terminals Operations Manager Daniel Talley Sr. to receive the bicycles. Sheriff’s Maj. Kevin Sensebe and Capt. Adrian Chalona, who are involved in the project to distribute the bikes, took possession of them.
“We are happy to help brighten Christmas for the boys and girls of St. Bernard who will receive the bicycles donated by Associated Terminals,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Employees at Associated Terminals donate money to help fund the bicycle project, said Talley, who added the company has had the Christmas bike project in several parishes for 10 years.
Associated Terminals formerly donated bicycles to the American Red Cross chapter in St. Bernard when sheriff’s official Joseph DiFatta was chairman of that group but for several years has donated the bikes to the Sheriff’s Office.
Parish and federal officials celebrated the grand re-opening Thursday, Dec. 21, of the renovated Old Arabi Jail at 220 Hernandez St., near the Mississippi River, site of the First Ward Justice Courthouse and Jail, built in 1911. The building was used as a courthouse until 1923 and also held a jail cell until 1939. It will be used as a parish tourism site, Parish President David Peralta said at its ribbon-cutting attended by Sheriff James Pohlmann, Council member Ray Lauga who represents the area, Chamber of Commerce officials, FEMA representatives, and others from parish government and the Sheriff’s Office. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the building was used as a meeting space by the Arabi Lions Club. It is expected the renovated building will be used as a community meeting space as well for tourism. President Peralta is shown cutting the ribbon. Also shown is the old cell that was made of thick iron. Inside the cell is Sheriff Pohlmann and President Peralta in one scene and Col. John Doran and Chief Deputy Richard Baumy in another.
Sheriff’s Office asking public to call its Criminal Records Division at 278-7626 to see if it has a bicycle you lost or was stolen in recent years
Anyone who lost or had stolen a bicycle in recent years can call the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Criminal Records Division at (504) 278-7626 to try to claim it, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
There are some 35 bikes that are available to be claimed if the owner can provide proof one is theirs, the sheriff said.
The deadline is Dec. 21, just a few days away.
Anyone trying to prove ownership must provide a reeipt that gives some description of the bike, a photo of the bike or one of the owner on the bike.
Also, any new or old bicycle can now be registered with the Sheriff’s Office without taking it anywhere, the sheriff said.
Go online to the sheriff’s web site at www.sbso.org and look to the right-hand side of the front page and there will be an illustration of a bicycle and a link to click on that takes you to the form to complete for registering a bike, the sheriff said.
To register you must attach a receipt, a photo of the bike or one of the owner on it. Fill out the form and send it back to the web site. You will receive a serial number by mail to attach to the bicycle.
If a child is the owner, include his name or her name and they will receive a letter from in their name from Sheriff Pohlmann sending them their serial number.
Hunter in stable condition after shot accidentally by friend who fired a shotgun when he saw movement in woods behind Borgnemouth Park in Meraux
A 27-year-old Meraux man was accidentally shot by his friend when they were hunting at dusk Monday in woods behind the old Borgnemouth Park in Meraux and he is in stable condition after surgery, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Troy Long was taken to University Hospital for surgery after being hit by buck shot in both legs by friend Josh Starr, also 27 and a resident of Meraux, the sheriff said. Long was hit by a shot from a .12-gauge shotgun.
The injuries were non-life threatening.
The incident happened on private property behind the 4400 hundred block of East Judge Perer Drive, Sheriff Pohlmann said, in an area popular with deer hunters despite it being illegal for them to trespass and fire weapons there.
After sheriff’s deputies responded to calls and spoke with the men, they said they were deer hunting and it was getting dark, the sheriff said. Starr said he heard movement and saw something move toward him, which he shot at it, thinking it was a deer.
Neither man was wearing orange vests or clothing as a safety precaution to identify themselves as hunters, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The sheriff said, “This should be a warning to others that they shouldn’t trespass, try to hunt when it’s getting dark and fail to wear orange safety outfits. This could have been so much worse.’’
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department is conducting an investigation of the incident that could lead to citations.
St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office breaks up heroin ring, arresting 3 men for possession with intent to distribute and 7 others who tried to buy from them
A heroin ring which sold in amounts as large as an ounce for several thousand dollars has been broken up by the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office with the arrests of the three top men and seven others who tried to buy from them, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The Special Investigations Division, commanded by Maj. Chad Clark, with cooperation from the Patrol Division headed by Maj. Adolph Kreger, made the arrests Dec. 10 after a three-month undercover operation, which was revealed Monday.
Marvin Richards, 37, 3217 Marietta St., Chalmette, identified as the leader of the group, has two prior drug convictions for which he served time in prison, has 10 prior drug arrests and and is currently on active probation, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Richards and Kendell Harris, 26, 3613 Ventura Drive, Chalmette, who has three prior drug convictions and 12 prior drug arrests, and Ulysses Duplessis, 36, 6322 Louis Elam St., Violet, currently out on bond for an arrest in St. Bernard for heroin distribution and has four prior drug arrests, were arrested.
They were all booked with possession of heroin with intent to distribute the drug and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Some 11 grams of heroin worth more than $1,100 and 1.5 grams of cocaine worth about $150 were seized when they were arrested in a vehicle in Chalmette, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Richards is being held without bond in the St. Bernard Parish Prison on a probation hold. Bond information for Harris and Duplessis wasn’t available.
After those arrests, seven others who tried to buy heroin from them were arrested and booked with attempted possession of the drug. Booked were Louis Melerine, 34, and Percill Bienemy, 35, both of Violet; Jason Douglas, 36, Steven Treadaway, 34, Michael Boudreaux, 28, and Daniel Fleetwood, 57, all of Chalmette, and Eric Treadaway, 50, of Harahan.
Narcotics agents are continuing to try to identify others who have bought from the three in the past. Anyone with information about others involved in the heroin ring or its buyers should call the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit at (504) 271-DOPE and they can leave an anonymous message.
Call the 271-DOPE hotline to report any narcotics activity you believe is happening in St. Bernard Parish and it will be investigated.
Historic Beauregard Courthouse dating to 1916 has grand re-opening; Functions will include a sub-station for Sheriff’s Office in east St. Bernard, a library and reception and conference space for lease by parish
Residents of eastern St. Bernard Parish turned out Thursday, Dec. 13, to applaud the grand re-opening of the historic Beauregard Courthouse at 1201 Bayou Road, built in 1916 and which later served as a school.
Now, the building will function as a sub-station for the Sheriff’s Office in eastern St. Bernard, a library and reception and conference space for lease by parish government.
“This is a magnificent building,’’ that will serve multiple purposes Parish President David Peralta said as a host of parish, state and federal officials held ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Local resident Catherine Serpas, who had pushed for the structure to be used again, cut the ribbon.
Functions will include a library component and will have reception and conference space for lease by the parish, which will help generate some money, Peralta said.
Sheriff James Pohlmann said, “I’m excited because this parish-owned building will also be used to house our sheriff’s sub-station in eastern St. Bernard,’’ offering services that local residents can use in their area instead of traveling many miles to Chalmette.
“We will soon be open here Monday through Friday,’’ staffed by Mary “Wee She’’ Melerine, who currently works from a trailer at Verret, further east, Sheriff Pohlmann said. Residents will be able to go to a nice office to file incident reports with sheriff’s deputies who will be called to meet with them there.
“I think we will be operational in a couple of weeks.’’
Crime victims may also be able to do interviews there with sheriff’s detectives for a follow-up investigation in cases, the sheriff said.
There were a number of people in attendance for the ceremony, including Councilman-at-Large Guy Mc Innis, Councilmen Monty Montelongo, Casey Hunnicutt and Ray Lauga Jr., former Parish President Charles Ponstein, State Representative Ray Garofalo, state District Judge Perry Nicosia, incoming Assessor Jaylynn Turner, Justice of the Peace Bruce Jackson, Constable Tony Guerra, Chamber Executive Director Stephen Reuther, parish Tourism Director Elizabeth “Gidget’’ McDougall and parish Historian Bill Hyland.
The $8 million project began in November 2010 and received a majority of the funding from FEMA, with parish government contributing $158,000.00 towards the project.
President Peralta thanked FEMA and the state GOHSEP for continued partnership and the architect, contractors and parish representatives for doing a great job on the facility. He also recognized the parish Road Department and Maintenance Department for their work in cleaning up the facility.
Eddie Williams with FEMA congratulated the parish and said he had his first project with FEMA in St. Bernard. He said St. Bernard Parish leads the metropolitan area in the recovery effort from Hurricane Katrina.
Jeff Amering with GOHSEP said his organization will continue to work with the parish until all projects are completed.
Hyland gave a short history of the 16,800-square feet three-story masonry building, originally built as the parish courthouse in 1916 but was most recently used as part of the Beauregard Middle School and has been vacant since Katrina.
The site of the building was the place where two other courthouses previously existed in St. Bernard Parish, Hyland said. There was a wooden building there from the 1780s – when the parish was originally settled in its eastern part by Canary Islanders – until 1848, Hyland said. “It was a one-story building on piers,’’ he said.
The owner of the land sold it to the parish for $1 in 1848 to build a more modern courthouse for its time, which burned in 1884, Hyland said.
St. Bernard’s parish seat was officially moved to Chalmette in 1938, Hyland said, and a Courthouse opened there in 1939. That building was closed for repairs after Katrina and later had to be remediated for mold and has been closed more than a year but is scheduled to re-open soon.
The Beauregard Courthouse sustained major damage during Hurricane Katrina, but has since been renovated to bring the building into compliance with current life safety codes. Due to the complexities surrounding the historic condition of the structure, the storm-related damage, and code-related upgrades many challenges were encountered during design and construction.
The project was designed by Beazley Moliere and constructed by Ryan Gootee General Contractors, LLC.
St. Bernard residents learned crime prevention tips in sheriff’s free class called “Refuse to be a Victim’
With Christmas coming, everyone wants to hang on to those nice gifts your family may get for the house, like big screen TVs, computers and other expensive things.
So don’t advertise you have them by putting the empty boxes out at the curb for garbage pick-up, where everyone including burglars can see them.
Capt. Charles Borchers, director of community relations for the Sheriff’s Office, recommends residents cut up boxes, place them inside plastic bags and put the whole thing in the mini-dumpster each resident has.
That tip, which costs nothing to do, is the type of common sense crime prevention advice Borchers shared with 25 parish residents who attended the sheriff’s free lecture program called “Refuse to be a Victim,’’ held Dec. 12 at the Sheriff’s Office in Chalmette.
Sheriff James Pohlmann began the free program nearly two years ago and the lecture has been heard by dozens of parish residents.
“Capt. Charles Borchers is an expert on crime prevention and residents should contact him to get involved in free programs he heads,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. Borchers can be reached at (504) 278-7628 to sign up for any class he gives, including Refuse to be a Victim, the Citizens Police Academy or to organize a Neighborhood Watch group in your area, the sheriff said.
Most of Borchers’ ideas involve advice in areas including what types of locks are the best for protecting homes and businesses – he recommends double cylinder deadbolt locks with large screws put an inch into a large, solid frame so a door can’t be easily kicked open.
He also suggests video surveillance cameras for those who can afford them, light-timers, alarm systems and motion lights as anti-crime strategies at home and for businesses.
“You do anything you can to stop the bad guys,’’ Borchers told class participants. “It’s us against them. And much of what we can do is inexpensive.’
And he pointed out, “There’s three things criminals really don’t like and will avoid: Noise, lights or to be slowed down. If you have those they will move on to someplace else.’’
In a front door at home, Borchers said, a non-costly device is a peep hole with a wide angle viewer/
And what could be less expensive than making anyone buy an old dogwalking in your neighborhood think you have a large dog. You simply buy a large water bowl for a dog, keep it half-full and occasionally wash it out so algae doesn’t grow.
Place it at the back door or somewhere near your front door or driveway and it gives the impression a large canine is roving about, Borchers said.
And you don’t even have to own a dog.
A woman living alone can use a similar trick by getting some second-hand men’s workboots and placing them at the rear door or somewhere out front to make it look like a man lives there also.
Borchers cautioned to never leave garage openers in a vehicle parked in a driveway because once a burglar gets into a garage they have privacy and easy access to get into the home.
He also emphasized to the audience, “You have to have a mental plan of action’’ at home or when traveling to be on alert for potential criminals.
As an example he asked audience members what they would do if they are alone at home and someone came to the door saying they had a package for them to sign for but their delivery truck wasn’t visible nearby. Should they open the door?
The best recommendation would be to ask the person to leave the papers to be signed at their door and go across the street while the resident opened the door to sign it, Borchers said.
And, if a stranger came to your door, he said, and told you they needed to use a phone because there had been an accident the smart answer would be to tell them you will dial the number for them without them coming inside.
When out, easily purchased pepper spray with a clip is available so that it can be kept on a safety belt in a vehicle or inside a purse, Borchers said. Even a loud whistle on a key chain is a good idea for people to have for personal protection. The panic button on a vehicle key chain also makes a good alarm to sound if someone is threatening you.
He pointed out that when people are in their home they could be vulnerable because they are comfortable in their surroundings and could let down their guard, such as forgetting to lock doors or windows because they feel safe. But he said most sex crimes committed on women happen in their home and such places as a college dorm, sometimes because their guard is relaxed there.
If someone wants to carry a gun in their vehicle it’s legal as an extension of your residence, Borchers said, but to carry it outside on your person a permit is required, as well as weapons safety training by a certified instructor.
When parking a vehicle at a shopping center don’t settle for the first parking spot. If at night, find one with the best lighting available and look around for suspicious people before getting out or going back to the vehicle, he said.
If going on a trip out of town on business or vacation, never leave a message on your phone telling people you will be away and don’t forget to stop delivery of newspapers and arrange to have a neighbor or friend pick up mail if possible. Keep your second vehicle in the driveway or ask a neighbor you trust to park their car in your driveway to give the impression someone is home.
While in another state or city be extra cautious in noticing your immediate environment before parking and be careful about carrying suit cases and cameras that mark you as a tourist. Also, be careful about others lurking in hotels and in the areas of motels you stay at.
When driving around in a rental vehicle toss a cap in the back window from one of the area’s sports teams so you look like a local and people may not notice it is a rental vehicle, Borchers said.
“Just use common sense.’’
Sheriff’s Office fielded racing team for Crimestoppers fund-raiser in City Park and its Honor Guard was used for the opening ceremony
The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office fielded a 4-person racing team in the Crimestoppers fund-raiser held in City Park in New Orleans on Sunday, Dec. 9 and the department’s Honor Guard was used for the opening ceremony.
Sheriff James Pohlmann attended the event, in which Crimestoppers CEO Darlene Cusanza said proceeds would be used to continue funding several of the group’s programs threatened because of loss of $50,000 in funding. Crimestoppers offers cash rewards for tips leading to prosecutions in felony criminal cases and has supplied information which solved crimes committed in St. Bernard Parish.
About 500 people including 140 law enforcement officers or family members took part in the racing events which included a 5K race – just over 3 miles – and a one-mile race.
The sheriff’s Honor Guard, shown from left, Dep. Jason Hunter, Sgt. Michael Lyons, Dep. Reginald Crayton and Dep. Clayten Burns, took part in the opening ceremonies. Shown running the 5K race are, from left, Lt. Justin Meyers, Col. John Doran, Maj. Chad Clark and Maj. Adolph Kreger.
Also shown at the event are Jefferson Parish President John Young, Cusanza, Sheriff Pohlmann and New Orleans City Council member Jackie Clarkson.
The Sheriff’s office team is shown with Cusanza as they registered and received their numbers.
Numerous runners are shown at the start of the 5K race and Sheriff Pohlmann is shown with Cliff Reuther and Claudette Reuther, who are realtors as well as Chamber of Commerce officials in St. Bernard Parish. The Metropolitan realtors group donated several thousand dollars to cover expenses of holding the fund-raiser.