Sheriff Pohlmann tells 16th graduation class of Citizens Police Academy St.. Bernard remains safe because of residents like them who get involved; He dedicated class to retiring District Attorney
The sheriff also said he is dedicating this year’s class to long-time St. Bernard District Attorney and former Sheriff John F. “Jack’’ Rowley, who is retiring at the end of the year and didn’t seek re-election. Rowley was sheriff from 1962-79 and has been District Attorney since 1979.
Jack Rowley kept St. Bernard safe, Sheriff Pohlmann said. “I don’t want his legacy to be lost. His legacy lives on in the Sheriff’s Office.’’ He told the 30 men and women graduates that Citizens Police Academy isn’t aimed at turning residents into police officers but rather to give insights into how law enforcement works in their parish and allow participants a chance to see and hear about things from the inside, with the opportunity to ask questions.
“Everything we put in place is to keep St. Bernard safe,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. But he added that without the cooperation of residents like themselves, “We would be wasting our time’’ because the Sheriff’s Office can only be successful when residents take the time to call about suspicious things they may see or cooperate as witnesses.
Capt. Charles Borchers, who coordinates the free 10-week Citizens Police Academy and is assisted by Dep. Eric Eilers, said he believes the program “puts a face to a badge’’ for residents.
“You see who we are and why we do our job and are dedicated to keeping St. Bernard safe,’’ Borchers said.
Citizens Police Academy started in St. Bernard in 1999 and more than 600 parish residents have gone through the program.
It was re-instituted in 2009 after several years of not being held following Hurricane Katrina.
St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputies were already waiting for him when he came out of a Halloween costume shop in Chalmette on Wednesday afternoon.
Jones, 23, who is from the Detroit area where he is wanted for an Oct. 4, 2013, murder, and Tianna Callaway, 22, who allegedly fled Michigan with him, were both arrested in a parking lot of a store in the 8800 block of West Judge Perez Drive.
Sheriff James Pohlmann said the Sheriff’s Office received information that a vehicle sought in connection with a man wanted for a murder in Detroit was heading into St. Bernard Parish and the suspect was believed to still be using it.
Deputies looked for the vehicle, a Dodge Neon with Michigan plates, and within minutes spotted it in the parking lot on Judge Perez Drive, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Neither Jones nor Callaway was armed or offered resistance, he said.
Jones was carrying a bag with a bumblebee costume from the store when he came out and then threw it on the ground before his arrest.
Callaway allegedly had a connection to New Orleans, where the pair apparently had been staying. There was no explanation for why they had come to a shop in Chalmette.
Jones, who also lived for years in the Montgomery, Ala. area, was held on an arrest warrant from Michigan issued in November 2013, alleging he had committed a murder using an AK-47 assault rifle that had been recovered. There was no information available on the victim of the killing. Jones reportedly has an extensive criminal record, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Jones was booked into the St. Bernard Parish Prison as a fugitive and appeared before state District Judge Kirk Vaughn on Thursday morning, where he waived an extradition fight.
Jones is expected to be returned to Michigan for prosecution.
Callaway wasn’t listed as wanted in Michigan on a criminal charge but was booked in St. Bernard Parish as an accessory after the fact. She was being held Thursday in lieu of bond set at $10,000.
St. Bernard Community Anti-Drug Coalition to lose its program director and is accepting applications for the part-time job
Dr. Joseph Salande, program director for the non-profit St. Bernard Community Anti-Drug Coalition for nearly a year, has told the group he will step down in December and its board is accepting applications for a replacement for the part-time position of about 20 hours per week. It pays $25,000 a year.
The Coalition was formed with a goal of reducing illegal drug use in the parish and works towards developing community-wide programs and providing information on resources available for those looking for rehab help for themselves or others.
Resumes to be considered for the job of program director should be e-mailed to Coalition Chairman Dan Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be reached at 504-430-3154 Sheriff James Pohlmann and a cross section of government and school officials, as well as other professionals in the parish are members of the Coalition board.
Salande, who was hired effective last December, told the board he needs to devote more time to his growing chiropractic practice but said he wants to continue to help the Coalition in its goals.
“I hope my tenure has brought some organization,’’ to the Coalition’s beginning steps, said Salande, a St. Bernard native who is a doctor of chiropractic and had a large practice in Chalmette before Hurricane Katrina. Salande began a Facebook page for the public to learn about the group at St. Bernard Community Coalition @ Facebook.com.
Schneider said of Salande, “I think Joe did a great job in getting us along to where we are. And I am pleased that he will now be a member of the board to continue helping the Coalition.’’
A Coalition office is located in the parish government complex at 8201 West Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette and the group’s phone number is 504-278-4308. Here is the job description for the program director: To manage, develop and coordinate overall operations of the St. Bernard Community Anti-Drug Coalition, including development and implementation of program goals, administrative procedures and systems and compliance with objectives of a Drug-Free Communities Mentoring Grant.
The program director will work with board members to develop and implement strategies leading to long-term involvement of community institutions, organizations and individuals in strategic prevention framework activities and will manage and oversee expenditures of the coalition budget.
Qualifications: Masters degree or relevant experience in public health or related field such as health education, administration, policy/planning, or in community/organizational psychology; or bachelor’s degree and 5 years of appropriate experience in managing or coordinating a community-based public health or voluntary health-related agency could be substituted for advanced degree.
At least 2 years of experience is required with health education programs in a community setting, proven ability to work independently, and excellent organizational skills. Must be highly proficient with Microsoft Office and general computer skills, as well as have excellent interpersonal and communication skills and knowledge of research methods.
Sheriff Pohlmann urges parents to check the sex offender registry before Halloween Trick-or-Treating
Did you know an estimated 80% of all addresses have at least one sex offender living within one mile, according to statistics from the Department of Justice and Watch Systems LLC?
Or that 45 percent of sexual assault victims are under twelve, and 75% of victims know their attacker? More than half of all sexual assaults occur within one mile of the victim’s home.
Did you know currently there are 71 registered sex offenders in St. Bernard Parish?
So before your children Trick-or-Treat this Halloween, Sheriff James Pohlmann advises parents to use real-time methods available online to find the location of sex offenders living in your area.
“We do our best to ensure sex offenders live where they tell us, but our residents should utilize online tools to see who the registered sex offenders are and where they are living,” Sheriff Pohlmann said.
He said it is critical that you “Know Before You Go” this Halloween.
Sheriff Pohlmann advises parents to go to the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office web site at www.sbso.org and click on the tab that says sex offenders. Simply enter your home address to view a printable map of your neighborhood and addresses of sex offenders in the surrounding area. Or if going somewhere else in the parish on Halloween night, enter that address to search.
If you will be going to another parish, you can go to the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association web site at www.lsa.org and click on the Public Resources, Sex Offender Tracking tab and check by an address in any parish.
While you are on the web site, Sheriff Pohlmann encourages you to take one extra step and register for the site’s free e-mail alerts.
“You can enter your home, school, grandparents’ addresses, etc., to receive real-time e-mail notifications any time a sex offender moves within one mile of any address you register,” the sheriff said.
The alerts are in real-time and sent out via email as soon as an offender has registered with the Sheriff’s Office.
There is no cost for this service to the public, and no limit to the number of addresses you can register. Your email address and physical addresses are all confidential.
With these resources available, Sheriff Pohlmann said, parents can feel confident they are armed with the necessary tools to keep their children safe this Halloween.
If you have any questions or need further help regarding the Sheriff’s Office sex offender registry, call (504) 278-7630 and ask for Lt. Jeff Roderfeld or email him at email@example.com.
Sheriff tells Metropolitan Crime Commission the department is erasing a large budget deficit he inherited, while maintaining quick response times to calls for service and with more officers on the streets
Sheriff James Pohlmann told the prestigious Metropolitan Crime Commission in New Orleans the department is erasing a large budget deficit he inherited, while still maintaining quick response times to calls for service and while upgrading the hiring process.
Rafael Goyeneche III, President of the 62-year-old citizens’ organization dedicated to exposing public corruption and reducing crime in the area, asked Sheriff Pohlmann to speak about the state of the Sheriff’s Office.
The non-profit group is known as a public watchdog and through its programs the MCC holds public officials and employees accountable for corrupt, unethical, and wasteful practices as well as working to enhance the safety of the community. The organization also conducts independent and objective research to raise the level of accountability and efficiency in the criminal justice system.
Addressing about 60 members of the Crime Commission board on Oct. 21 at its monthly luncheon, Sheriff Pohlmann said, “We had big challenges’’ when he took office July 1, 2012. He said he was inheriting a $4.2 million budget deficit and needed to restructure rank in the department.
After reducing the number of employees from 315 to less than 260, the sheriff said, and cutting other expenses the Sheriff’s Office still had a deficit and he had to borrow money on anticipated revenue.
But in April 2013 the department won voter approval of a property tax increase and for the first time he doesn’t anticipate having to borrow any money, the sheriff said.
Now, the department has about 280 employees and a hiring process that includes a board of veteran officers to review candidates and make recommendations. “We are getting good quality applicants,’’ he said.
Using a pool of money from FEMA, along with a donation of land along Paris Road from the Meraux Foundation, the Sheriff’s Office is building three new sub-stations at the entrances to St. Bernard at no cost to parish residents and they are expected to aid crime prevention.
Increased training programs for deputies have been implemented, the sheriff said, and through grants the department has been successful in obtaining money used to get its first mobile emergency command post, a patrol boat big enough to be used on the Mississippi River and a deep-water truck that can be used for evacuating residents in a rain storm event.
Prison trusty work crews have been used in public projects with other agencies to help clean up highways and cut trees along canals to improve drainage and even help with levee maintenance, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The sheriff also acknowledged that like elsewhere in the nation, drug abuse – particularly a surge in heroin use being seen throughout many areas – remains a problem and is the leading cause of property crimes. Addicts steal to get money to feed their habit, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“If you could fix the drug problem you fix the crime problem,’’ he said.
In answer to a board member’s question about the effect on crime in St. Bernard because of sharing borders with New Orleans, Sheriff Pohlmann acknowledged more crime is being committed in the parish by outsiders.
“Criminals don’t care about a boundary,’’ he said.
Fortunately there are few instances of violent crime and it has been more than a year since the parish experienced a murder, he said.
The sheriff stressed he believes in drug abuse resistance programs in schools starting with very young students. He told the MCC board members that spending money on education on the front end to prevent kids from getting hooked on drugs would be better than paying the costs of incarceration as well as drugs’ toll on society in general once children have grown up dependent on them.
“We know you can’t arrest your way out of the drug problem,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. Education and rehabilitation treatment programs are the best chance at a solution, he said.
But he firmly believes drug-dealers must be sent to prison, Sheriff Pohlmann said, and also said he is against proposals to legalize marijuana because he feels that can only increase its use.
Sheriff’s Office to have extra patrols for Halloween night and gives 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, Friday 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 or 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.
New Orleans man booked Tuesday with carjacking a dirt bike after pulling a woman off it on a street in Arabi; Bike later recovered in the city
Shiquille Robinson was booked with carjacking and possession of 12 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute. Robinson admitted stealing the bike and later showed deputies where it was located in eastern New Orleans, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Robinson was arrested after he arrived on an Arabi street to find out why deputies had stopped a car driven by his girlfriend, Brionne Harris, 25, also of New Orleans, the sheriff said.
Harris was stopped by Dep. Ryan Lopez on Alexander Street in Arabi because the vehicle she was in matched a description of a car with a busted windshield a woman drove away in on Monday at the scene of the carjacking.
The victim of the carjacking, an 18-year-old Arani woman, identified both Robinson and Harris after their arrests, as well as the car Harris was driving on Tuesday, the sheriff said.
Harris was booked Tuesday with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute – which was found in the vehicle she was driving – and with possession of a controlled substance in the presence of a juvenile, who was a child in Harris’ vehicle.
The victim had been riding the dirt bike and said she stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Patricia Street at Rowley Boulevard in Arabi. She said Robinson exited a car he was in with Harris and went over to her, the sheriff said. As she began to drive away, she said, Robinson pulled her off the bike by her hair and drove off on the bike, with Harris fleeing in the car they both had been in, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Robinson and Harris were booked into St. Bernard Parish Prison, pending a bond appearance before a judge.
Sheriff’s Office breaks ground on Paris Road sub-station near parish line; Secomd one on St. Claude nearly done and third on Judge Perez has started; All 3 being built by FEMA at no cost to residents
Ground-breaking ceremonies were held Monday, Oct. 20, on a new St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office sub-station building at 4700 Paris Road near the Orleans Parish line in Chalmette, a project which coupled with new sub-stations on St. Claude Avenue next to Jackson Barracks and 7001 West Judge Perez Drive in Arabi should aid crime prevention, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
“We are excited. This is an important day for us,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann told a crowd which included sheriff’s employees, representatives of FEMA and the contracting, engineering and architecture firms doing the job.
The three new sub-stations, all being fully paid for by FEMA at no cost to St. Bernard residents, will be a key part of the Sheriff’s Office crime suppression strategy and should give residents “peace of mind’’ that the parish can be effectively shut down in case of an emergency. Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The 5,000 square-foot building on Paris Road, being built with the help of a donation of one square block of prime real estate by the Meraux Foundation, replaces a sub-station building the Sheriff’s Office has been leasing for years near the Orleans line on Paris Road. The savings in rent will be used to pay utilities on the three new sub-stations FEMA is building.
Completion of the Paris Road site is estimated to be 10 months or less, with Dynamic Constructors of Jefferson Parish building it.
The 8,200 square-foot sub-station on St. Claude is substantially done and could be ready in November. Work has started on the 5,000 square-foot station to be built at 7001 West Judge Perez Drive at Aycock Street and it should be finished at roughly the same time as the one on Paris Road.
The stations at the parish line in Arabi replace the two sub-stations which stood there prior to Hurricane Katrina, the sheriff said.
When built by then-Sheriff Jack Stephens in the 1990s, the sub-stations served as the quarters of the detective and patrol divisions. The station at 6501 St. Claude will again house detectives from the Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Juvenile Division, as well as crime scene investigations.
Sheriff Pohlmann also said the sub-stations in Arabi were a psychological deterrent to criminals from outside St. Bernard who could see police were there and would know if they committed a crime they would have to leave the parish past those stations.
“I know it worked as a crime prevention measure,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “It still has that potential and could be essential for us.’’
The sheriff also said it was fortunate the Sheriff’s Office, with the help of the land donation from Floyd and Rita Gue of the Meraux Foundation, both of who were present, was able to build three new sub-stations with money from FENA. “We had a limited amount of money and needed to make sure we spent every dollar wisely. He said, thanking Pete Tufaro of the Sheriff’s Office for the job he did as project manager for the department and head of Administration John Vickers.
Sheriff Pohlmann also thanked FEMA, the Governor’s Office for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, or GOHSEP, and officials of CDM Smith Inc., which handled the project while working with FEMA and the Sheriff’s Office. CDM Smith Project Manager Drayfus Guient and former employee Douglas Landry who also worked on the project were present.
John Connolly, FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Public Assistance Emergency Management Specialist, spoke on behalf of the agency, saying the Sheriff’s Office created its vision of how to use the FEMA money available to get the most value for the department, in this case getting all three new sub-stations.
“It works for FEMA to see communities rebuilding on their own terms,’’ Connolly said. Dwight Butler and Amy Connolly of FEMA were also present.
Jeff Hymel, Kyle Sanderson and Justin Wilkes were present from Dynamic Constructors and Kris Lowry and Paul Jarboe were there representing the Perez APC architectural firm.
Numerous groups got together in St. Bernard Parish for the Night Out Against Crime to show support for one another
For five years, the First Pentecostal Church of Chalmette has put out a bounce center for kids on their church grounds and thrown a party for members to get together and celebrate on the National Night Out Against Crime.
Pastor Otto Martin said the goal is to get people together to support one another.
“We support the National Night Out Against Crime. It’s a good way to meet people,’’ said Martin.
“It familiarizes people with their neighbors that they may not see’’ otherwise and lets people know they have something in common.
Throughout Arabi, Chalmette Meraux and Violet, St. Bernard residents got together to talk and remember the annual Night Out Against Crime, which started more than 30 years ago.
At the Pentecostal Church on Palmisano at East St. Bernard Highway, Sheriff James Pohlmann asked children and young teen-agers to gather in front of him and told church members that residents owed it to young people to give them a safe place to live and grow up.
“These (young people) are the reason that our deputies fight so hard to keep this parish safe’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. The sheriff also asked the group to “pray for our parish, its children and us.’’
The sheriff attended a number of the get-togethers held by residents.
If people called to register an event, sheriff’s deputies were assigned to give crime prevention tips and answer questions of residents.
In Violet, Kevin Gabriel, a minister and head of the St. Bernard chapter of the NAACP, continued his tradition of hosting a party with relatives in their old neighborhood to celebrate National Night Out Against Crime, saying they think it important to talk and show unity in a battle against crime.
“You have to try to make a difference,’’ said Gabriel as he helped host an outdoor party on Daniel Drive in Violet on Tuesday night, Oct. 14. “People look forward to this every year.’’
“By coming out and talking to neighbors you share things and find out what people need,’’ Gabriel said. “You have to turn negatives into positives. I think things are getting better.’’
Carol and Al Beaubouef have been holding a National Night Out Against Crime party at their home in Lexington Place subdivision in Meraux for many years now.
The local homeowners’ association asked them to begin hosting a party and they have been doing it since, Al Beaubouef said.
His wife said, “We enjoy seeing people get together’’ and she added.”I believe in the idea of watching out for the neighborhood’’ and it helps that when neighbors get together, Carol Beaubouef said.
Sheriff Pohlmann has said he supports National Night Out Against Crime as a way for people with something in common – the desire to protect their neighborhood against crime – to get together and pledge to look out for another’s property.
Capt. Charles Borchers, director of Community Relations for the Sheriff’s Office and head of the Neighborhood Watch program, said the parish continues to see residents having parties for the Night Out Against Crime.
“We at the Sheriff’s Office want to work hand-in-hand with the people,’’ Borchers said. “We think participation by the public in such things as National Night Out Against Crime, Neighborhood Watch and the free Citizens Police Academy offered by the Sheriff’s Office is a show of their support to work with us.’’
“Don’t hesitate to call us if you see something in your neighborhood that doesn’t look right to you,’’ Borchers told a group, adding only residents will notice something that doesn’t belong, such as a strange vehicle in someone’s driveway when they are gone that day.
Call the S.O. at (504) 271-2501 and you could be helping prevent crime such as a burglary or theft, Borchers said.
Borchers and Dep. Eric Eilers also told people the next free session of the popular lecture program called “Refuse to be a Victim’’ is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.
In November, residents can call Borchers at 278-7628 to register for the program, which offers advice on the best locks, timers and other crime prevention tips for homes and businesses.
National Night Out Against Crime is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and was introduced in 1984 to strengthen participation in local anti-crime efforts.
The National Night Out campaign involves more than 30 million, including residents, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses and at military bases.
Sheriff Pohlmann and students at St. Bernard Middle School take part in Student Pledge Against Gun Violence and sheriff visits classerooms to discuss with them peaceful resolution of disputes
Sheriff James Pohlmann participated with students at St. Bernard Middle School on Wednesday as they took a pledge against gun violence on the National Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence.
The sheriff took part in a live video message broadcast to each home room at the start of the school day in which the pledge was taken, and then visited several classrooms to discuss with students the need for peaceful resolution of disputes.
“The best way to settle a dispute is to talk about it,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann told students in 7th- and 8th-grade classes. “Don’t let it end with violence, especially with a gun.’’
If talking between people doesn’t solve a problem they should simply go their own ways, Sheriff Pohlmann said, but don’t carry arguments to the point of physically attacking one another.
Some students suggested making compromises were better than fighting.
Sheriff Pohlmann also told the story of how murders are rare in St. Bernard Parish but one occurred a year ago because of a dispute between two teen-agers, which ended with one shooting and killing the other and the murderer arrested. “One is dead and the other’s life is destroyed,’’ he told the students.
Sheriff Pohlmann and Lt. Robert Broadhead of the Sheriff’s Office took part with St. Bernard Middle Principal Sue Deffes, Assistant Principal Angela Seibert, Counselor Paul Tran and 8th-grade students Madison Melerine and Brissa Taylor in a live video broadcast to each home room of the school at 8 a.m..
Students in the school took the pledge that read:
“I will never bring a gun to school.
“I will never use a gun to settle a personal problem or dispute.
“I will use my influence with my friends to keep them from using guns to settle disputes.
“My individual choices and actions, when multiplied by those of young people throughout the country, will make a difference.
“Together, by honoring this pledge, we can reverse the violence and grow up safely.’’
The pledge distributed to students was signed by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite Jr. of New Orleans, who has encouraged schools to begin conversations with young people about gun violence.