Community involvement like taking the Citizens Police Academy class plays integral role in crime-fighting, Maj. Carl Saizan of State Police tells CPA graduates
Maj. Carl Saizan of Louisiana State Police lauded members of the graduating class of St. Bernard’s Citizens Police Academy for taking the time to learn about law enforcement and said such community involvement is crucial in crime-fighting.
More than 30 residents of St. Bernard Parish graduated the free, 10-week course geared to bettering communications between the community and law enforcement. Call (504) 278-7628 to register for the next class or other free courses offered by the Sheriff’s Office.
Saizan, a Chalmette native who worked at the Sheriff’s Office five years and has gone on to head State Police in the New Orleans, Baton rouge and North shore areas, was guest speaker for the 15th graduating class of the Sheriff’s Citizens Police Academy at Nunez College on Oct. 30.
“It is community awareness and involvement that helps us fight crime,’’ Saizan said. “We rely on citizens to play an integral role.’’
He also said, “feedback from the public is both expected and appreciated.’’ In return, police must understand that wearing a badge is a privilege and not a right, Saizan said.
Mentioning he is a native of Chalmette, Saizan said one of his first calls as a deputy on the streets in St. Bernard was a burglary in progress call near his parents’ home and the man he caught was a former childhood friend “who had played cops and robbers with me’’ when they were young.
Saizan also said St. Bernard residents have a good Sheriff’s Office devoted to stopping crime and one that works well with other agencies.
Sheriff Pohlmann told graduates that St. Bernard still has a small-town feel to it but Sheriff’s Office men and women are well trained and backed by the latest technology in areas such as communications, weapons and innovations such as a bomb robot to inspect suspicious items.
“I am lucky to be the sheriff of a great law enforcement department,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said, “and a parish where people will pick up the phone and report something that doesn’t look right to them.
“It makes it a safe community when citizens get involved,’’ the sheriff said. He told the group he hoped they received insight into how law enforcement works in the parish and encouraged them to get involved in a Neighborhood Watch program in their community to help keep their area safe.
Natalie J. Seaton, who lives in eastern St. Bernard where she and her husband moved after coming from Wisconsin to help as volunteers after Hurricane Katrina, was chosen by the graduating class to speak for the group on the final night.
“My husband, Tom, and I have been touched by the spirit of the people here.’’ Seaton said
And they enjoy the feeling of being safe in St. Bernard, she said, adding the graduates of the Citizens Police Academy class were struck by the obvious efforts of sheriff’s personnel to protect parish residents.
Many participants thought the class “was an eye-opener’’ to what goes on in St. Bernard, Seaton said. She read off comments from class members, including that everyone enjoyed discussions and demonstrations of equipment, much of it received through grants that didn’t cost the Sheriff’s Office anything.
Seaten also said class coordinator Capt. Charles Borchers, who is Director of Community Relations for the Sheriff’s Office including Neighborhood Watch programs, “never seemed to run out of patience’’ and things to discuss.
Borchers can be reached at (504) 278-7628 to discuss crime prevention tips, organize a Neighborhood Watch group or learn about upcoming free programs given by the Sheriff’s Office.
Citizens Police was started as a mechanism for the public to learn about police work in St. Bernard, interact with officers and ask questions about any concerns. More than 500 residents have participated since its inception in 1999.
Reward for information raised to up to $6,000 in murder of Violet man shot in his car Oct. 30, 2012; Call Crimestoppers at 822-1111 with information
Crimestoppers, in conjunction with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, has announced the raising of a reward up to $6,000 for information leading to an arrest in the Oct. 30, 2012, murder of Christopher Campbell, 28, of Violet.
One year ago today the victim was found shot dead about 11 p.m. in the driver’s seat of his special edition 2004 Ford Mustang that had been burned-out on the shoulder of Louisiana 46 Extension, in eastern St. Bernard Parish, Darlene Cusanza of Crimestoppers and St. Bernard Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Campbell worked at several car shops as a body and fender specialist and spent much of his off time working on cars and racing them, often with groups of fellow car enthusiasts.
On the night of his murder, a passing motorist saw a dark-colored sports car parked immediately behind the Ford Mustang on the shoulder of Louisiana 46 Extension, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Only minutes later, the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call that the same Mustang, still parked on the shoulder of the highway, was engulfed in flames. Authorities found Campbell in the driver’s seat of the Mustang, shot to death, and the other vehicle was gone.
Sheriff’s detectives believe Campbell may have already been dead in his car when the passing motorist saw his Mustang and the dark-colored sports car parked behind him – then the killer or killers quickly set fire to the Mustang just after the motorist passed.
Anyone with information about what happened should call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $6,000 if an arrest is made based on the tip.
Sheriff’s Office puts out fliers to registered sex offenders in St. Bernard Parish reminding them they can’t give candy to minors or mask on Halloween
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office Det. Henry Maitre tapes a flier to the door of a registered sex offender in Chalmette on Oct. 29, reminding the person they can’t give out candy to minoros or mask on Halloween under state law. All 73 such offenders living in St. Bernard Parish are receiving visits from the Sheriff’s Office in recent days and deputies try to give them a flier in person. If they aren’t home the flier is left there. Deputies will also pass back by their homes on Halloween night to make sure they aren’t violating the law, which doesn’t mandate registered sex offenders display the sign which says no candy is being given out at that residence. But Sheriff James Pohlmann encourages them to leave up the sign so it is clear children can’t receive candy at the door. Photo by Sheriff’s Office.
S.O. collected 81.2 pounds of mostly prescription drugs on Oct. 26 in the Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at Walgreens; Call 271-DOPE hot line to turn in expired or no longer used drugs
Several residents of St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans said they were glad to hear the Sheriff’s Office was collecting expired and no longer used drugs at the Walgreens store in Chalmette on Saturday, Oct. 26, because they hadn’t known how to turn in drugs they had.
“I’d been wanting to get rid of (old medication) but didn’t know how,’’ one woman said. “I didn’t want to dump it in the bathroom’’ she said, because she knew it could get into water and harm wildlife or fish. “Then I saw you were taking it here.’’
The take-back event, held in the parking lot of the Walgreens at Judge Perez and Paris Road, was very successful, Sheriff James Pohlmann said. It collected 81.2 pounds of various medicines and prescriptions turned in by residents.
“That is 81 pounds of drugs, a lot of it prescriptions, that could be easily abused but will never hit our streets and instead will be incinerated,’’ the sheriff said.
The sheriff’s Special Investigations Division, commanded by Maj. Chad Clark, collected the drugs at Walgreen’s.
The 4-hour event continued a successful partnership with the Walgreens store in Chalmette, where 66 pounds of drugs were received last April in the first drug take-back day held there.
Sheriff Pohlmann and Maj. Clark thanked Walgreens officials for hosting the event, including several on the scene including Chalmette store manager Dustin Mares, Gerard Robinette, loss prevention manager for Walgreen’s New Orleans West District; and Bob Lips, loss prevention manager for a number of the company’s stores.
The drug take-back day, sponsored nationally by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, has helped keep prescription drugs off the street, the sheriff said, which is important because studies show young people often first abuse such drugs after stealing them from medicine chests at the homes of relatives or parents of friends.
Warren Rivera, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans field division of the federal DEA, also dropped by the Chalmette event. Capt. Pat Childress of the Sheriff’s Office, who is assigned to a DEA task force, helped collect the drugs turned in as well as Cpl. Jessica Gernados and Maj. Clark.
The Sheriff’s Office has participated for several years in the national drug take-back day and locally it was the Sheriff’s Office that began its own take-back day in 2009 called “Operation Medicine Cabinet,’’ which encouraged residents to clean out their medicine chests of old prescription drugs and turn them in to the department.
St. Bernard residents are reminded they should call the sheriff’s 271-DOPE hot line (271-3673) any time to report suspected illegal drug activity. They can also call the same number to turn in prescription drugs between official drug take-back days. Which are done in April and October. A Narcotics Unit agent will call them back to make arrangements.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) resumed service at the Lower Algiers/Chalmette ferry route around 4:30 p.m. Saturday,
Repairs to the screw jacks and the mooring connection were completed and vehicles are now able to safely board the vessel.
Service was suspended for nearly two weeks due to emergency repairs needed to the landing barge when it broke.
Part of East Bernard Hwy closed five hours Friday because of a release of an oil-like liquid sprayed on vehicles and the road from Valero Meraux Refinery
A section of East St. Bernard Highway in front of the Valero Meraux Refinery was closed from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday because of a release of an oil-like liquid from the refinery which sprayed the roadway and vehicles, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
A number of sheriff’s vehicles, at least two school buses and numerous other vehicles were struck by the dark spray as the passed on the roadway or were parked in a lot across the street and south of railroad tracks that parallel the highway.
No injuries were reported, the sheriff reported, and refinery officials had spoken to a number of vehicle owners about having vehicles cleaned. The exact number of vehicles affected wasn’t immediately known.
About a one-mile section of East St. Bernard Highway from Jacob Drive in eastern Chalmette to Munster Drive in Meraux was closed by the Sheriff’s Office because of the problem, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
State Police hazardous materials officials were on the scene as well as the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department.
A private firm, U.S. Environmental Services, was called to the scene and sand was placed on the road to absorb the liquid, then removed afterward so the highway could be opened.
Most motorists use East Judge Perez Drive in the area, which wasn’t affected by the release.
There were few details on what caused the incident, but a tank at the refinery reportedly had a problem which caused the spray of liquid.
The Stars and Stripes are flying again at the Sheriff’s Office annex building on Pakenham Drive beind the Parish Courthouse in Chalmette.
A new 30-foot pole was installed and the American flag was raised in a ceremony Thursday for employees, led by Sheriff James Pohlmann.
“It was before Hurricane Katrina that the flag was last flown here,” Sheriff Pohlmann said. “Now we can show our patriotism.”
The sheriff’s annex building that was destroyed in the hurricane was rebuilt and opened about two years ago and now another flag pole has been put up to fly the flag.
The sheriff thanked veteran Maj. Nick Cuccia for getting a flag flying again at one corner of the building.
Shown, employees gathered around the flag pole, then Col. John Doran raised the flag as others looked up to watch. Afterward, Sheriff Pohlmann looks up to view the newly installed flag. Last, the flag, with a brass ball atop its pole. is shown through a window on the top floor of the sheriff’s annex building.
Sheriff’s Office to visit registered sex offenders and check on them Halloween night to make clear state law prohibits them giving candy to kids
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann said all convicted, registered sex offenders in the parish will get a visit from sheriff’s deputies before Halloween bearing a gift, but not a treat.
Officers will bring fliers to all registered sex offenders, to remind them, Sheriff Pohlmann said, that under state law they can’t distribute candy or other gifts to persons under the age of 18 at Halloween, Mardi Gras, Easter, Christmas or any other holiday for which candy is often given out to minors. They also are forbidden to mask.
The flier says no candy is being given at that door.
Deputies will try to hand the fliers to the registered offenders and talk to them but if they can’t do that will leave the flier at their door. There is no law saying they have to post it on their door but Sheriff James Pohlmann recommends they do so to make sure children aren’t there to trick-or-treat. “It would be for their benefit as well as for the benefit of minors.’’
“We will have deputies out the night of Halloween making compliance checks to ensure minors aren’t at the doors of sex offenders being given candy,” Sheriff Pohlmann said. “If the person who is a registered sex offender is seen mingling with children at their door they will be questioned and if they are giving out candy they will be arrested.”
Compliance checks also make sure the registered sex offender is living at the address they last gave to authorities when they either moved into the parish or changed their address. It is a violation of law not to register with authorities when a sex offender changes an address.
“This is something we take seriously,’’ the sheriff said. “The law is there to protect minors from coming in contact with a registered sex offender at their home in the guise of them giving them something.”
He said violators of the law shall be sentenced to a term in prison of not less than six months and up to three years.
Sheriff Pohlmann said parents or escorts walking with minors as they trick-or-treat should make sure to avoid residences where fliers may be posted saying candy isn’t being given out there.
St. Bernard currently has 73 registered sex offenders living in the parish. “Every parish has registered sex offenders and parents should be aware of this,’’ the sheriff said.
Pohlmnn said the OffenderWatch program on registered sex offenders across Louisiana informs the public where the offenders live in neighborhoods and gives information on their convictions. The information can be found on the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Web Site at www.sbso.org or on the Louisiana State Police Web Site. The local site is maintained in St. Bernard Parish by Det. Capt. Jeff Roderfeld.
Sheriff’s Office to have extra patrols for Halloween night and is giving safety tips for trick-or-treaters
As it has for years, the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office will step up DWI and traffic enforcement on Halloween night, Thursday Oct. 31, for the protection of trick-or-treaters and adult party-goers, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
“Motorists are asked to slow down, be extra cautious and be especially watchful for children and other pedestrians,’’ the sheriff said.
He said there will be extra patrols on highways and in neighborhoods to enforce DWI and traffic laws. Drivers should also look for possible road blocks in neighborhoods.
“Let’s all try to have fun that night,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Capt. Charles Borchers, director of community relations and the Neighborhood Watch programs for the Sheriff’s Office, emphasized that, “Children and their escorts who are trick-or-treating should be especially careful in areas where there are still vacant properties,’’ in St. Bernard Parish.
Here are some other Halloween safety tips offered by the Sheriff’s Office:
– Make sure children understand to never enter a stranger’s home, and when trick-or-treating is over no goodies should be eaten until they are taken home and sorted out to check that they are safe.
– Plan to wear costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement. If possible, consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
– Also, when shopping for costumes, wigs or accessories, purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame-resistant.
– Secure emergency identification, such as your child’s name, address, and phone number, discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet. Consider using makeup rather than masks since masks can limit or block visibility.
– Provide each child with a flashlight or battery-powered lantern with fresh batteries.
– Always travel in groups and make sure a parent or responsible adult accompanies young children on their neighborhood rounds.
– Also, make sure children know their home phone number or a parent’s cell phone number and know to call 911 if they have an emergency or become lost.
– Trick-or-treat only in well-known neighborhoods at homes that have a lit porch light.
– Secure pets at home so they don’t get excited or run away if children come to your residence looking for treats.
S.O. to hold Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Walgreen’s at Judge Perez and Paris Road; Please bring in old or no longer needed drugs to be destroyed
The take-back, held every six months, has been important in keeping such medications from falling into the hands of young people by preventing them from reaching the streets to be sold illegally, the sheriff said. He said last April, 66 pounds of old prescription medications from more than 25 people were received in Chalmette as part of the National Drug Take-Back Day held at the Walgreens store in Chalmette.
“That was 66 pounds of prescription drugs that was incinerated and didn’t hit our streets to be abused or thrown down toilets or sinks and ultimately affect our seafood or drinking water,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “Please encourage everyone you know to surrender old medications on Saturday.’’ “We thank Walgreens for allowing us to collect the medications outside their Chalmette store so people have a central location to come to,’’ the sheriff said.
Officers from the sheriff’s Special Investigations Division, along with a deputy assigned to a federal Drug Enforcement Task force, will be in the parking lot of Walgreen’s to collect prescription medication. They can be brought in prescription bottles or in plastic bags, The Sheriff’s Office has participated for several years in the national drug take-back day and locally it was the Sheriff’s Office that began its own take-back day in 2009 called “Operation Medicine Cabinet,’’ which encouraged residents to clean out their medicine cabinets of old prescription drugs and turn them in to the department.
St. Bernard residents are reminded they should call the sheriff’s 271-DOPE hot line (271-3673) any time to report suspected illegal drug activity. They can also call the same number anytime they want to turn in prescription drugs between official drug take-back days. A Narcotics Unit agent will call them back to make arrangements.