Two St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputies, Capt. Ronnie Martin and Carlo Cacioppo, attended the Dec. 27 funeral of a murdered New York City policeman and say they were humbled by the experience.
Martin and Cacioppo accepted the airline Jet Blue’s offer to fly free two officers from any department to the services being held for NYPD officer Rafael Ramos. Ramos was shot dead in a car with officer Wenjian Liu on Dec. 20 when ambushed by a man who police have described as a disturbed loner.
Martin, assistant commander of St. Bernard’s Special Investigations Division, said he felt compelled to attend the services for the fallen Ramos. He said he got a call about it from an officer in New York, Tony Perzichilli, who worked with the St Bernard Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division in the 1990s and now is with the Port Authority Police Department in New York/New Jersey.
“With all that’s going on now with demonstrations and with hatred toward policemen I thought it was the right time for police to come together and pay respects for the officer who was killed,’’ Martin said.
Cacioppo, an agent with the Street Crimes Unit that is a part of SID, said, “I knew it was the right thing to do’’ to go to the funeral. “Even though I never met him (officer Ramos) he was a brother. I felt the families could use the support and it might help ease the pain.”
Martin and Cacioppo were taken to the funeral by New York police and joined an overflow crowd of some 25,000 police, family, friends and dignitaries who jammed Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens.
“You looked down any side street all you saw were blue uniforms,’’ Martin said of the New York officers who were outside the church. He said he was told Jet Blue also flew in more than 700 officers from other departments.
Both Martin and Cacioppo said it was an unusual experience to be part of the group.
“We were outside the church and you are standing around so many officers for an officer most never knew,’’ Martin said. “People weren’t saying much. It was just a feeling we needed to be there for one another.’’
Cacioppo described being in “a sea of blue’’ with other officers. “It was humbling. Very humbling and emotional. It was an honor to be among the men and women of the NYPD who were there for a hero who sacrificed everything. It was such a senseless crime.’’
Martin also said he was “very impressed with how much gratitude’’ was shown to visitors like himself from New York officers and others. “Everywhere we went people were thanking us for being there.’’
Before the flight back to New Orleans the pilot approached him and Cacioppo and said the flight crew wanted a photo with them when they landed, Martin said. And it was nice, he said, when the captain recognized all the officers onboard for coming to New York, which also included ones from the Gretna and Jean Lafitte police departments, over the airplane intercom and the other passengers applauded them.
Man booked with second-degree murder in the shooting of a Violet man on Dec. 28; Suspect’s brother booked with accessory after the fact
A Violet man has been booked with second-degree murder in the shooting Dec. 28 of a man he had known for years and the suspect’s brother was booked with accessory after the fact of murder, Sheriff James Pohlmann said Tuesday.
Dondre “Snoop” Johnson, 22, who apparently has no permanent address but last used an address on Pierre Street in Chalmette, was booked Tuesday for the murder of Broderick Parker, 27, of Violet who was shot several times about 6:30 a.m. in the 2300 block of Licciardi Lane in Violet on Dec. 28, the sheriff said.
Parker was later pronounced dead at University Hospital in New Orleans.
Dondre Johnson’s brother, Jon Johnson, 26, 2412 Elizabeth Court in Violet, was booked with accessory after the fact of murder for allegedly having knowledge of his brother’s involvement, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Both Johnson brothers were also booked with possession of a stolen firearm recovered in the investigation and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
They are both being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison without bond pending appearances before a magistrate judge.
Both Johnsons were already in jail since Monday, with Dondre Johnson booked with a parole violation and Jon Johnson booked with a probation violation.
Dondre Johnson had been on parole following a crack cocaine conviction in 2012. He had a lengthy criminal history, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Information was developed after the killing of Parker which led to Dondre Johnson as the shooter, the sheriff said, and the fact that his brother, Jon, had knowledge of Dondre Johnson’s involvement.
No motive for the killing has been released.
Through witnesses it was established that Dondre Johnson and Parker, who had known each other for years, had been together the night before, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
A video surveillance system at a store showed Johnson and Parker together a short time prior to the killing of Parker, the sheriff said. Also, information developed placed the suspect and victim together in the same vehicle that was later seen leaving the area of the shooting.
Parker’s death was the first murder in St. Bernard Parish since October 2013.
There was a homicide in St. Bernard Parish in November which is under investigation. In that case the person who shot a man claimed it was a justifiable killing and hasn’t been arrested pending a continuing investigation.
The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office C.O.P.S. for Christmas program – standing for Caring Officers Provide Smiles for Christmas – was able to help four parish families with food and presents for Christmas.
Officers primarily from the Communications Division and the Corrections Division, who formed the group several years ago, donate money and get other help to provide needy families a Thanksgiving dinner and at Christmas time family presents, a tree and Christmas dinner.
This year two Chalmette families were selected based on referrals from a school and a day care center for help at Thanksgiving but two additional families, one from Arabi and another from Chalmette, were helped at Christmas.
Families helped for Christmas included those of Christina Chapman of Arabi, Katie Boehm of Chalmette, Angelina Lema of Chalmette and Mindy Davis of Chalmette.
This is the fourth year the C.O.P.S. for Christmas program has been held.
“Participation is growing every year,’’ said Col. David Mowers, head of the Corrections Division which initiated the effort and was joined by the Communications Division. “Now we are getting participation from people in the Patrol Division and others.’’
The Sheriff’s Office is also receiving information through social media about parish families who need help, Mowers said. “It becomes a little overwhelming’’ for those involved but it gives participants a good feeling to do what they can, he said.
Also helping with donations to help the program included the following groups and companies: St. Bernard Kiwanis Club, AARP Council on Aging, St. Bernard Pistol and Rifle Range, Hamilton’s, Courtesy Discount, Par 3, Salon Finesse, Wal-Mart, Big Lots and Home Depot.
A Violet man was shot to death on a Violet street early Sunday morning and investigators are working on leads, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Broderick Parker, 27, was shot several times about 6:30 a.m. in the 2300 block of Licciardi Lane and was later pronounced dead at University Hospital in New Orleans, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
It was the first murder in St. Bernard Parish in more than a year, which was in October 2013.
Sheriff Pohlmann said detectives are working on leads. No arrest has been made.
By St. Bernard Parish ordinance, here are the times when fireworks can legally be used in the parish through New Year’s Day.
Through Dec. 28 fireworks can legally be used from 9 a.m.
until 11 p.m.
On Dec. 29 and 30 they can be used from 9 a.m. until midnight.
On Dec. 31, they can be used from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2015.
On Jan 1, fireworks can be used from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., when all use of fireworks must end for the New Year’s period.
Man who stole donation canister from a Chalmette store collecting money for a 3-year-old cancer victim has been arrested but the stolen $100 not recovered;
A Chalmette man apparently didn’t care he was stealing money being collected for a three-year-old girl with cancer but he has been arrested by the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The stolen cash, estimated at about $100, wasn’t recovered in the arrest Friday of Kevin Toups, 36, who has a lengthy criminal history, the sheriff said.
But a benefit fund has been set up at Gulf Coast Bank in Chalmette to try to raise money for medical expenses for the girl, Madisyn Riculfy, who lives with her parents in Chalmette.
“It is a crime against all people when someone would dare steal money clearly intended to help a three-year-old cancer victim,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “Her photo was on the collection cansister and it said she had had cancer. I am glad he is now arrested’’ the sheriff said of Toups.
The donation canister with the girl’s photo on it and containing money for her was stolen about 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 15 off a counter at Hoffer’s gasoline station and convenience store at Paris Road and Judge Perez Drive.
Sheriff’s deputies found the canister, which had been emptied of the money, discarded on the ground near the store after the incident, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
A video surveillance camera, however, showed the thief and sheriff’s detectives were able to determine it was Toups, who has been arrested in the past for charges which included burglary and drugs,
Det. Steve Imbraguglio obtained an arrest warrant from a judge and arrested Toups at a residence near the store on Friday morning. Toups is being held in St. Bernard Parish, with no bond set.
Associated Terminals donates 20 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 20 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, the largest midstream stevedoring company on the Mississippi River, operates at sites including at Chalmette Slip in St. Bernard Parish, in Plaquemines Parish and in Reserve.
Sheriff Pohlmann met Dec. 19 with Zeljko Franks, Senior Vice-President at Associated Terminals, and Jason Perez, its operations manager, to receive the girls’ and boys’ bicycles.
“We are happy to help brighten Christmas for the boys and girls of St. Bernard Parish who will receive the bicycles donated by Associated Terminals,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Franks said the company, which has donated bicycles to the Sheriff’s for a number of years to help the needy, has also able to donate bicycles to several other groups in St. Bernard, including the Battered Women’s Shelter and The Arc program for intellectually challenged adults.
Employees at Associated Terminals donate money to help fund the bicycle project, said Franks, who added the company has had the Christmas bike project in several parishes since 2002.
Nearly 400 5th-graders graduated the 12-week Drug Abuse Resistance Education program taught by the Sheriff’s Office in the fall semester
The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office honored more than 100 fifth-graders at J. F. Gauthier Elementary School and Our Lady of Prompt Succor School on Dec. 16-17 who completed a 12-week program in Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., taught by instructors from the Sheriff’s Office.
It was the last D.A.R.E. graduation of the fall semester, which saw nearly 400 students graduate the D.A.R.E. program at five schools, also including at Lacoste, Joseph Davies and Lynn Oaks.
Lt. Lisa Jackson, commander of D.A.R.E., and Sgt. Darrin Miller are the instructors for the program, which was re-established in 2009, four years after Hurricane Katrina.
D.A.R.E. is aimed at trying to keep young people from using drugs including tobacco and alcohol, or taking part in violence or bullying of others.
Sheriff James Pohlmann told children they must concentrate on making the right choices to have productive lives, including listening to their parents and teachers and deciding who they should and shouldn’t associate with.
The sheriff also praised those relatives of the graduates who turned out for the ceremony for showing their support for the students.
He encouraged them to continue staying focused on their children, including talking often with them and looking for warning signs to help prevent drug use or be alerted to them actually using drugs.
If necessary, drug test kits are available at pharmacies to test young people, the sheriff told parents. If there is a problem it is important to rescue them before they become involved in the criminal justice system and end up in prison, the sheriff said.
If parents see signs of possible problems, don’t be hesitant to ask what is happening. “It’s not something they will grow out of and it needs to be addressed,’’ the sheriff said.
Maj. Chad Clark, commander of the Special Investigations Division 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 and solid law enforcement to stop drug dealers.
The resurgence of the deadly drug heroin is concerning law enforcement and health care officials throughout the nation and is something parents should be paying close attention to, Clark said.
But Clark said overdose deaths have been going down in the parish because of a combination of factors including law enforcement diligence.
St. Bernard residents hear advice on locks, alarm systems and other anti-crime strategies in Refuse to be a Victim lecture by the Sheriff’s Office
Or if a stranger at your door asks to use a phone?
Those were some of the things Capt. Charles Borchers discussed with about 30 parish residents recently in a lecture given by the Sheriff’s Office called Refuse to be a Victim. He also gave advice on locks, alarm systems and all manner of crime prevention strategies for your home, business and when you are out of parish on vacation or for business.
First, if there is no delivery truck in sight, it is a good idea to tell a person asking for a signature for a package delivery to put their clip board down outside your door and step back, Borchers said. Then you take the clip board inside to sign it and put it back outside for them to pick up, he said.
It might seem rude but it would be the only cautious thing to do, he said, because opening your door to a stranger is taking a risk, especially if you don’t see a delivery truck outside
“No one has to come inside your house if you don’t know them,’’ Borchers said. Also, he said, if a stranger wants to use the phone, “Tell them you will call someone for them from inside your home,’’ rather than letting them inside if there is no obvious accident that has just taken place outside.
Borchers, head of Community Relations and long-time crime prevention director for the Sheriff’s Office, can be reached at (504) 278-7628 if you want to start a Neighborhood Watch group in your area or ask about any other free programs offered by the Sheriff’s Office.
Borchers, assisted by Dep. Sheriff Eric Eilers, demonstrated what type locks, lighting timers and discussed alarm systems residents and business owners should use as well as going over various situations.
Sheriff James Pohlmann has made the Refuse to be a Victim course available for parish residents since 2011, with the lecture given one or more times per year. Thousands of people have taken the course by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
Borchers stresses in the lecture that, “You have to have a mental plan of action’’ at home or when traveling to be on alert for potential criminals.
Use strong locks and peep holes on home doors, Borchers said. Light-timers, alarm systems, video surveillance systems and motion lights are all good crime prevention strategies, he said.
Anything that makes a would-be burglar’s job harder increases your chances they will move on to another target. What don’t burglars like, Borchers asked. “They don’t like noise, lights or to be slowed down.’’
Motion detectors, especially ones that give off a noise, lights outside and dogs are all things that help scare away someone who might considering burglarizing a home or business, he said.
Borchers recommends double cylinder deadbolt locks with large screws put well into a large, solid frame so a door can’t be easily kicked open. The old style chains on residential doors were a good idea that many people have gotten away from, he said.
Bushes and plants in front of windows are good, Borchers said, as well as cheap alarm peel and stick devices for back and side windows, such as in the kitchen and laundry rooms, which statistics show are likely places burglars try to break in.
Every once in a while it is a good idea to stand outside your house or business and look closely at things burglars may think about when sizing up a place to strike, Borchers said.
St. Bernard activist Polly Campbell named program director for non-profit Anti-Drug Coalition; She is a retired school teacher and former Clerk of Parish Council
She replaces Dr. Joseph Salande, who announced in October he was leaving as program director after serving for nearly a year but is remaining as a board member.
“It is an honor to be selected as program director of the drug-free coalition efforts led by such a talented group of community leaders,’’ Campbell said after its board of directors recently announced her appointment.
“As we seek major grant funding from the federal government we will continue to identify existing resources and gaps in an effort to support a healthy drug-free community,’’ Campbell said. “In collaboration with our schools, Sheriff’s Office, faith-based and civic groups we hope to build a unified “tool kit” to address quality of life issues in St Bernard Parish.”
Campbell continued, “We are hoping to build a network with members of the community to coordinate our focus to reduce alcohol and drug abuse with activities already going on with other groups in the parish in order to pool our resources.’’
Campbell has worked in many areas in St. Bernard Parish. Besides being a retired teacher and former clerk of the Parish Council she is currently the chairwoman of the Metropolitan Human Services District, a state agency dealing in developmental disabilities services for Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes
And she is involved with the non-profit St. Bernard Community Foundation, working in beautification efforts in the parish, along with being affiliated with the Arc, which has a program in Chalmette for intellectually challenged adults.
The St. Bernard Anti-Drug 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.
Coalition Chairman Dan Schneider said Campbell is an excellent choice as program director for the group because she knows the parish and has experience working with parish groups. “She can help take us forward,’’ Schneider said of Campbell.
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 in October he couldn’t continue as program director because he needed to devote more time to his growing chiropractic practice but will 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.
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.