Mike Tregre announces sheriff run

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2011



LAPLACE – After months of speculation regarding whether he would or even could run for office, former St. John Director of Emergency Preparedness Mike Tregre has officially announced his intentions to run for St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff in the Oct. 22 general election.

Tregre, 43, made his announcement Friday evening, following his last day of work as EOC director, a position he accepted in January after working 23 years in the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“I am deeply concerned about crime problems plaguing St. John Parish and the lack of training of officers to get convictions on the arrests made,” Tregre said in a statement. “I can no longer sit back and watch the department continue to move in its current direction.”

Tregre joins a field of candidates that includes LaPlace business owner Aaron Lions and incumbent Sheriff Wayne Jones, who has said he is running for the last time. Tregre said he never intended to run against his former boss but added Jones had said previously that his current term in office would be his last.

“I’m prepared to run now, and I intend to give it my all,” Tregre said.

Tregre said his campaign will not simply focus on what he perceives as problems within the Sheriff’s Department. He said he plans to use his experience as a deputy, investigator and public information officer within the department to offer new ideas, solutions and strategies.

A few of the programs Tregre plans to implement include a mandatory CPR certification for all first responders within the department, random drug testing for all employees and a physical fitness program that will reward officers who stay fit.

Tregre said he also wants to implement a text messaging alert system that will inform residents of crimes as they happen so they can do what they need to do to protect themselves. He also wants to see a “return to the neighborhood” by deputies in an effort to re-establish trust between residents and officers.

“If a citizen knows the deputy that patrols the area, and that deputy stops by their home once a month or so, then that citizen will be more likely to share information they may have about crimes in the neighborhood,” Tregre said. “We cannot solve every crime alone and citizens are usually afraid of retaliation by criminals. If we do not have the help and trust of the citizens, we cannot keep the criminals off the streets.”

It was no secret within the parish that Tregre was considering a run for sheriff, but when he accepted the job as Emergency Preparedness Director for Parish President Natalie Robottom back in January, many thought his political aspirations would be put on hold.

Tregre, however, never said a run for sheriff was out of the question.

His possible political aspirations sparked District Attorney Tom Daley to seek an opinion from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to determine whether the position of emergency preparedness director falls under the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits individuals employed by state, county or municipal agencies that manage federal funds from campaigning for public office.

The OSC determined that since Tregre was responsible for managing federal funds and that a portion of Tregre’s salary came from federal funds, Tregre could not be a candidate for public office while employed by the parish without risking penalties. Tregre resigned about a month after the opinion was returned.