Sheriff’s Message on First Year in Office

Posted: July 3rd, 2013 | Filed under: Sheriff's Messages

How quickly a year passes.

It hardly seems it was a year ago, July 1, 2012, when I was sworn in as sheriff of St. Bernard Parish and Richard Baumy took his oath of office as Chief Deputy, the position I had held under retired Sheriff Jack A. Stephens.

It was a year in which we accomplished many things and fulfilled pledges made to the public.

And, of course, we owe a debt of gratitude to the people of St. Bernard Parish who have stood by the Sheriff’s Office over the past year. Thank you for supporting law enforcement.

I promised we would increase the number of sheriff’s deputies patrolling this parish. Our hiring process for that is in full swing and it won’t be long before there are more deputies on the streets.

I felt the command staff we put in place a year ago and the rank structure we adopted would serve as well for the future. I am pleased with those results.

I also promised this department would be all about training our men and women in the latest information they need to be effective and stay up-to-date in firearms use and tactics. We have lived up to that.

Maj. David DiMaggio, director of training, has continually scheduled Webinars – training sessions by Internet – in subject after subject for our personnel, using our training room, in the building at 2118 Jackson Blvd. We have also had deputies attend training offered in other parts of the state.

We have increased our training department. Det. Lt. Raymond Theriot has been added as assistant training director.

And we offer deputies constant refresher courses on topics such as dealing with an active-shooter situation or an intruder in a school. Our SWAT team practices regularly to be ready for special situations.

We also concentrate on pro-active efforts like narcotics enforcement, knowing if you get some handle on drugs you decrease property crimes, which are fueled by addicts robbing or stealing to get their next fix.

The public has the right to expect we will suppress crime as best we can to give you a parish where you can raise a family and live a life free of fear. That’s what we try to do.

But, as ever, we continue to need your help and rely on residents to be our first eyes in their neighborhood because you know what does and doesn’t look right in your area.

Call us at (504) 271-2501 if you see anything suspicious. We promise if it turns out to be nothing, we won’t be angry. We want to have the chance to check out anything that doesn’t feel right to you.

Good cooperation between the community, businesses and the Sheriff’s Office has and always will exist in this parish. Timely calls by witnesses lead to arrests and we are fortunate to have residents willing to report what they see.

Let’s look to the future and think about how we can rid our community of crime, as best we can.

With help from the government we will be rebuilding full sub-stations at the entrances to our parish in Arabi on St. Claude Avenue and West Judge Perez Drive. We believe that in the past they have served a function as a deterrent to crime because anyone entering the parish to commit a crime knows they will have to pass a police station to leave afterward.

We are exploring possibilities of using crime cameras in certain areas, something that might help in specific applications.

Also, my suggestion to our residents is to get and stay involved.

It should start at home. That means, first of all, talk to your children all the time. Learn if there is anything bothering them – bullying by someone at school or in the neighborhood, or whether they are changing in ways that could indicate a problem.

See if they have lost interest in things they have always enjoyed, like sports, reading, bicycling, dancing.

Notice if they are hanging out with different kids, and whether you know all their friends. Changes might not mean much. Or it could indicate they are trying drugs and may need help from you.

Try to maintain control over the amount of time your kids spend on social networking sites and whether they are meeting with people they didn’t know except through the Internet. Problems can develop quickly when strangers are involved.

If you have time, think about a Neighborhood Watch group in your area. Call Capt. Charles Borchers at 278-7628 if you want to do that or to sign up for our free Citizens Police Academy or hold a neighborhood party for National Out Against Crime i9n October.

It helps when neighbors talk, you learn you have things in common – like caring about your street and looking out for others as you hope they look out for you.

As I go about our parish I engage people to see how they feel and hope you come up to speak with me.