Sheriff’s Office will continue keeping St. Bernard safe by emphasizing quick response time when called and good cooperation with residents

Posted: January 19th, 2013 | Filed under: Sheriff's Messages

Let me begin my new administration by saying I was so honored to be elected sheriff by the residents of St. Bernard last November, when they showed confidence in my ability to continue keeping this parish safe.

I have grown up with the Sheriff’s Office, beginning here in 1983 when I was just 18 years old and continuing for the next 29 years. I thank Sheriff Jack A. Stephens, who decided to retire rather than seek re-election, for putting me in positions to gain the experience that has helped me become sheriff.

I am a traditionalist in many ways, one of them being I feel there is a bond between residents and their law enforcement agency.

You have the right to expect we will suppress crime as best we can, using innovative as well as Old School methods of policing, to give you a parish where you can raise a family and live a life free of fear. That’s what anyone should want.

St. Bernard Parish remains the safest in the New Orleans area, a place where the Sheriff’s Office’s top priority is quick response time by deputies if residents need help, as well as pro-active efforts like narcotics enforcement.

And if you get a handle on drugs you decrease property crimes which are fueled by addicts robbing or stealing to get their next fix.

But to help us we rely on residents to be our first eyes on their neighborhood. You know what does and doesn’t look right in your area.

Call us at (504) 271-2501 if you see anything suspicious. And if it turns out to be nothing, so what? We would rather check it out and make sure. Good cooperation between the community, businesses and the Sheriff’s Office has always existed in this parish.

Timely calls by people lead to arrests, no doubt about it. We are fortunate to have residents willing to report what they see.

We are answering 3,000 calls a month for assistance from the public and are making 200 arrests a month, focusing on narcotics activity, personal and property crimes and traffic enforcement.’’

We have re-introduced the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program for children in schools and re-started the Citizens Police Academy for residents to better understand law enforcement.

Neighborhood Watch programs, Business Watch and the Night Out Against Crime are also back.

Call Capt. Charles Borchers at 278-7628 to sign up for Citizens Police Academy or to form a Neighborhood Watch group or hold a neighorhood party for National Night Out.

Since I became chief deputy in 2008, new programs have also begun. I have appointed a Quality of Life Officer to deal with issues where blight promotes criminal activity. You can reach him through Borchers phone number.

I have also started the Refuse to be a Victim program for residents to get common sense tips about keeping themselves from becoming crime victims.

I also moved to partner our department with the Battered Women’s Shelter to reduce domestic violence in our parish in 2009. Since then, I’m proud to say we haven’t had a domestic killing and have seen a much reduced number of serious injuries. Also, a detective was appointed to handle soley domestic violence cases and act as an advoate for victims.

Becoming familiar with the increased number of autistic individuals in our nation, I began a series of training sessions for all enforcement officers to help them better recognize the signs of autism and better understand and deal with autistic individuals they deal with.

I have also moved to make TASERS available to sheriff’s enforement divisions to avoid injury to both officers and criminal suspects they deal with. We have trained officers in the use of Tasers and have requested grants to acquire more of them for possilble use if necessary.

I have also stepped up our community outreach program to establish both sports outlets for at-risk youth and give them additional opportunities to learn basic life lessons we teach, including how to go about getting them ready for job hunting in the real world.

Our Number 1 complaint from the public is always traffic enforcement, which we continue to work on but we are thankful it is the worst complaint.

As the new sheriff, our department has already moved to change the uniform, badge and patch deputies will wear. A new look for our vehicles is also on the way.

But I promise the essence of what makes the Sheriff’s Office what it is won’t change.

Hope it meets your approval.