A 64-year-old New Orleans man apparently died by drowning while fishing in St. Bernard Parish waters Sunday morning, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
David LeBlanc Jr. died after falling into the water from a platform in the Mississippi River – Gulf Outlet while apparently trying to tie up the boat he was in, the sheriff said.
The incident happened east of the flood wall in the MR – GO just before 10 a.m.
LeBlanc’s body was recovered from the water but he was dead on arrival at St. Bernard Parish Hospital.
Neither he nor a man in the boat with LeBlanc were wearing
personal flotation devices, the sheriff said.
“Besides speed limits, watch for students walking in the areas near schools and remember to buckle up your kids in proper seating for their age when driving them to or from school.’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“Be prepared for school buses to stop to pick up or unload students,’’ the sheriff added.
Also, the Sheriff’s Office is having extra patrols by deputies in school areas the first week, he said.
“It is so important for drivers to be aware of school zones, children walking to or from school and school buses stopping to pick up or drop off kids,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “You don’t want to have a mental lapse and make a mistake you would regret forever.”
Most school zone speed limits are 20 MPH, Sheriff Pohlmann said, and drivers who know where schools are located should start slowing down well before they reach a school zone.
Also, remember to buckle children in seats appropriate for their ages, the sheriff said.
“The back seat is the safest place for young kids,’’ he said, citing statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which say children up to age 12 are safest riding in the back seat, buckled in place. Remember: auto accidents remain the leading cause of death of children 5-15 years of age.
Young children should be in rear-facing back seats. Never place a rear-facing infant seat on the front passenger seat because they could be injured if the airbag deploys and hits the child.
For full child passenger safety information, including where to find safety seat inspection stations, go online to www.nhtsa.gov to learn more.
Children at Christian Fellowship camp enjoyed the Sheriff’s Office robot, remote control car and other items and a chance to meet and talk with officers in a non-intimidating atmosphere
Children at Camp Conquer, which is the summer camp at Christian Fellowship Worship Center in Violet, got to enjoy the Sheriff’s Office robot, remote control car, airboat S.W.A.T. trucks and others on July 28.
But maybe more importantly, it was also a chance for them to meet with sheriff’s officers in a non-intimating atmosphere, fostering the opportunity to talk with police and ask questions.
For Sheriff James Pohlmann it was the chance to tell them that if they stayed in school and stayed away from crime, “If you dream you can be anything’’ and advised them to start thinking about what they wanted to do with their life.
The sheriff also told the group of about 60 kids that, “Everybody in this room is our future’’ and that at the Sheriff’s Office “success is not about how many people we arrest but how many people we help.’’
And Sheriff Pohlmann also said, “We want you to grow up in a safe environment and emphasized that “guns should never be used to settle disputes.”
“You have got to respect one another,’’ he said. “If you have a dispute you can settle it, but not with guns – no way, no how.’’
Pastor Henry Ballard Jr. of Christian Fellowship Worship Center holds the camp for nine weeks each summer, with activities geared to boys and girls ages 4-12. There are field trips and sessions with a doctor from LSU Medical Center, focusing on self esteem and ways to resist bullying.
Zinna Ballard, wife of Henry Ballard, is director of the summer camp.
Pastor Ballard said the day set aside for law enforcement to visit and show specialized equipment is important to the kids.
“They get to hear what the Sheriff’s Office is trying to do to give them a safe community to grow up in,’’ Ballard said.
“They see police in their neighborhoods and other places in the parish but for them to have the chance to ask questions is good,’’ the pastor said. “It introduces them to law enforcement in a positive way, giving them a chance to interact with law enforcement in a non-intimidating way.’’
Sheriff Pohlmann visited the camp with numerous sheriff’s deputies who demonstrated specialized equipment and answered questions.
The demonstration included some that have proven to be crowd favorities: the bomb robot used to check suspicious items along with showing the youngsters a bomb suit, an airboat, the department’s S.W.A.T. truck used in training and the mobile command center.
Also popular was a remote control car carrying a miniature Daren the Lion, national mascot of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E., which is taught by sheriff’s deputies in St. Bernard schools.
And for many children, the most popular thing at the camp was Luke, a drug and search dog brought by handler Senior Trooper Rene Bodet of State Police. The kids loved petting the canine, who seemed to like the attention.
Aaron Johnson named chaplain for St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office; Will attend to employees in personal crisis and help the public connect with programs for personal problems such as addictions
Ten years later, he is still here and is buying a home in Chalmette and has a wife and two daughters. He also was a volunteer, unpaid Reserve Division deputy with the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office for four years, helping supplement manpower for the department.
Now, Johnson, 34, has been named chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office, working in the Community Relations Division, Sheriff James Pohlmann announced.
“I believe there is a role he can fill to help people of this parish,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said of Johnson, who is a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains.
Typical chaplain duties include being available to minister to deputies and other department employees who are in personal crisis. Johnson will also interact with members of the public affected by misfortune, including helping them connect with programs needed for personal and family problems such as addictions, the sheriff said.
Johnson can be reached at (504) 278-7659 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I hope to be an asset to our department as I help our deputies and other employees and also as we interact with the public,’’ said Johnson.
“I want to serve in moments of crisis to help get people through that period,’’ he said. It could involve counseling a Sheriff’s Office employee or counseling the public when someone’s family members have been injured in a bad accident.
In cases of individuals or their family members needing help with addictions or other personal problems, Johnson said, “There are appropriate agencies we can help people connect with.”
Sheriff’s Office Junior Deputy Academy holds graduation for children who took the six-week course allowing them to learn about law enforcement and see department weaponry and equipment
Jacob Brupbacher, 12, of Meraux said he liked the session with the Narcotics Division. “I learned about how bad drugs are and about how they make arrests.” He also liked the display of equipment and talk by the Fire Department because, “I learned how to get out of a fire safely.’’
Ava Chalona, 10, of Arabi said she liked “going to the shooting range. I enjoyed shooting the guns’’ and learning about firearms safety.
Christian Robin, 9, of Chalmette, said he liked the tour of the Parish Prison and the demonstration of how to do CPR. He said he “might want to be a paramedic’’ to help people.
Others liked the boats brought by the Marine Division.
Nearly 30 kids graduated the second annual Junior Deputy Academy on July 20, a program started by Sheriff James Pohlmann and coordinated by Capt. Charles Borchers and Dep. Sheriff Eric Eilers.
Awards were given to three youngsters who were the best in accuracy in a shooting competition using .22-rifles at a shooting range. Lestat Buras won first place, Ava Chalona was second and Christian Robin placed third.
Also, Hilton Preau grandfather of one participant, received an award for volunteering to help with the academy the past two years.
Sheriff Pohlmann, speaking to graduates and their families, said he hoped the children enjoyed the academy, especially getting to see guns and equipment used by various divisions of the department, the bomb robot used to check suspicious items, the department’s mobile command post and the field trips.
“You saw a lot of cool things we have in law enforcement,” the sheriff told them.
He also said protecting the children of the parish “is a reason deputies get up and go to work each day.’’
“We would like to inspire some young people to become law enforcement officers,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The academy is patterned after the Sheriff’s Office free Citizens Police Academy for adults, which begins Aug. 24. Register for the adult version by calling Borchers at (504) 278-7628 or Eilers at 278-7799.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for helping make the Junior Deputy Academy possible: Clements Insurance Co., Winn-Dixie in Chalmette, Wal-Mart in Chalmette, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, J & R Quick Stop, Hook and Line Sporting Goods.
Also, the Meraux Foundation, Acadian Ambulance Service and Kevin Spansel and Janie Fuller, St. Bernard Pistol and Rifle Range and board members Luke Marengo, Bill Finnan, Bill Atzenhoffer and Vincent Ferrara and Junior Deputy Academy adult chaperones Hilton Preau and Monica Buras.
Two 15-year-old boys booked with burglarizing a truck in Chalmette after the owner saw one inside the vehicle and caught the other on his lawn; deputies quickly found the first one who had fled
A Chalmette resident saw one 15-year-old male inside his truck and caught a second 15-year-old in his front yard as deputies quickly found and arrested the first one who had fled, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The incident happened on Pakenham Drive the night of July 15 and both boys were booked into the parish Juvenile Detention Center. One lives in Chalmette and the other was from St. Amant.
The owner of the truck said he saw one boy inside the vehicle after 11 p.m., went outside to confront him but the juvenile fled. The owner said he then saw a second boy in his front yard, apparently acting as a lookout, and he prevented him from leaving until sheriff’s deputies arrived.
The boy who fled dropped a purse he had taken from the vehicle as he ran from the scene, Sheriff Pohlmann said. That boy was quickly found after the owner gave a description of what he was wearing.
The owner identified the boy arrested by deputies as the one who had been inside his vehicle, the sheriff said.
The vehicle involved had been left unlocked. Sheriff Pohlmann recommends residents lock their vehicles when they aren’t in use because the great majority of such burglaries in St. Bernard Parish happen when they are left unlocked.
Hundreds turn out to participate in prayer vigil on steps of the Courthouse for the support of law enforcement and in memory of officers killed in the line of duty
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the St. Bernard Parish Courthouse on Tuesday evening to participate in a prayer vigil for the support of law enforcement – especially the parish Sheriff’s Office – and in memory of officers killed recently in attacks on police in Baton Rouge and Dallas.
People held hands, prayed and lit candles to demonstrate their feelings.
“We feel our officers need this support,’’ Brittani Gillis said of the vigil she and three others organized. “We appreciate the
Courage it takes for them to do their jobs each day not knowing what you will walk into.’’
Gillis, Heather Fandino, Tim Levy and Charol Armand organized the prayer vigil.
“We did this to show officers we appreciate them every day,’’ Levy said from the steps of the Courthouse.
Sheriff James Pohlmann was asked to address the crowd and said. “To the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office thank you for keeping St. Bernard safe.’’
“We have a relationship (with the people) based on truth here in St. Bernard Parish,’’ the sheriff said.
“We have to get past the (anti-police) rhetoric you hear on national TV,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. We can’t let that rhetoric ruin our relationship with the community, he said. “let’s unite.’’
The sheriff also said that despite good training and being well equipped, police are at risk “if people are hell bent on killing a police officer.’’
“But we are not scared,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said of his department. “Our guys are standing on the front line.””
Last January a girl called the Sheriff’s Office Communications Division and reported her friend, another girl, had tripped and fallen on a Chalmette street, hurting herself.
But the dispatcher handling the call sensed there was something more to the injury than the girl had revealed and sent a sheriff’s patrol car and an ambulance to the scene.
It turned out the injured female had accidentally shot herself with a gun a boy had shown the two girls and she needed immediate medical attention, but survived.
It’s an example of the day-to-day job done by dispatchers in the Communications Division, which is commanded by Maj. Angela Huff.
The Communications Division is the backbone of the Sheriff’s Office, its dispatchers the first voice the public hears when someone calls 911 or 271-2501 to report criminal activity, a medical emergency, a fire or a vehicle accident.
And the calls for service are staggering – some 31,000 last year and more than 17,000 this year through mid-July.
While entering computerized information on a call, they often are on the line routing deputies to a location while also staying on a line with a caller to calm them down and give reassurance someone will soon be there to help.
And often lives are at stake.
For the work the Communications Division does it received the St. Bernard Kiwanis Club Life-Saver Award in a ceremony July 19.
Four members of the Communications Division accepted the award on behalf of all involved.
Present were Lt. Jamie Penton, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 18 years; and Sergeants Lacye Lulei. with nine years on the job; Shannon Cooper, with eight years on the department; and Tracy Canino, with eight years on the job.
Penton thanked the Kiwanis Club members, saying, “We appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge what we do.’’
Cooper said dispatchers must quickly determine what a call is about and sometimes “that is based on instinct,’’ such as hearing what is going on in the background of a call. She added, “We love our guys (the deputies out on the street they dispatch to scenes) and we want them to get home safe every day.’’
The Kiwanis Club gives the Life-Saver Award four times a year for special actions, twice to parish sheriff’s deputies and twice to firefighters.
Taking part in the ceremony were Sheriff James Pohlmann, Col. David Mowers, Sam Catalanotto – chairman of the Kiwanis Life-Saver Committee – and Kiwanis Club President Mike Gorbaty.
In presenting the award, Catalanotto said that more than 10 years ago the Kiwanis Club started the award as a way to recognize first-responders in the parish for the work they do to protect the public. “They put their lives on the line’’ for St. Bernard each day. “We think that’s a big deal.’’
Sheriff Pohlmann praised the work of the department’s Communications Division, saying they “do an awesome job. When the stuff hits the fan we rely on them.’’
He also said “they take calls that range from (a complaint about) a barking dog to a multiple fatality accident or a shooting. And they help keep people calm until we get there.’’
“We pride ourselves on a quick response time’’ and that is made possible by the work of the Communications Division, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Working from a building on West St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette, they decide where a call needs to be routed, he said.
Some go to the Fire Department, some to the ambulance service and some to patrol deputies, based on whether there is a fire, a medical emergency, a car crash or a call about crime.
St. Bernard Parish residents organizing prayer vigil for law enforcement at 7 p.m. on Tuesday on steps of the Courthouse in Chalmette
A prayer vigil for law enforcement officers organized by St. Bernard Parish residents will be held at 7 p. m. Tuesday on the steps of the Courthouse in Chalmette.
The event is open to the public.
Registration open for the free, popular St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office Citizens Police Academy which starts Wed., Aug. 24; Call (504) 278-7628 or 278-7677 to register
“Participants will learn about what police work entails in the parish and they will have the chance to ask questions to experienced officers and get frank and specific information,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“And this year we have added a class on crime prevention, which will touch on home security and personal safety.”
Parish residents can call Capt. Charles Borchers at (504) 278-7626 or Dep. Sheriff Eric Eilers at (504) 278-7677 to register now for the 10-week course, which includes a graduation ceremony on Oct. 26.
This is the 18th session of the class, in which nearly 700 parish residents have attended over the years since it was started in the late 1990s.
“Our Citizens Police Academy class will answer a lot of the questions you may have about law enforcement here and why things are done the way they are.’’
Graduates, the sheriff said, become “ambassadors for law enforcement because they have a vested interest in what happens’’ in St. Bernard.
Classes will be held in the Sheriff’s Office 2nd-floor Training Center in a parish government building at 2118 Jackson Ave. in Chalmette, immediately behind the Parish Courthouse. The Assessor’s Office is in the same building.
Borchers, head of Community Relations for the Sheriff’s Office, runs the Citizens Police Academy classes with Eilers and coordinates Neighborhood Watch programs and the National Night Out Against Crime event for the department.
Anyone who wants to start a Neighborhood Watch on their street, hold a Night Out Against Crime get-together or apply for the Sheriff’s Office Reserve Division should also call Borchers or Eilers.
Any resident who has attended sheriff’s lectures on how to avoid being a victim of crime would find the Citizens Police Academy another interesting learning tool, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Classes are geared to fostering good relations between the community and law enforcement.
There are numerous features to the Citizens Police Academy program which participants say they enjoy, such as:
– Hearing from sheriff’s commanders on various phases of law enforcement including patrol work, narcotics enforcement, detective duties, S.W.A.T. team demonstrations.
– Receiving boating safety tips.
– Hands-on demonstrations of equipment including weapons and a bomb robot used for checking suspicious items are also part of the program.
– A firearms simulator which asks participants to view computerized video scenarios and make split-second decisions about criminal suspects.
– Get information about the parish’s battered women’s program.
– On-site tours of Parish Prison and the Parish Courthouse.
– Lectures from law enforcement agencies from outside St. Bernard.