Tregre has changes in store for St. John Sheriff’s Office
Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 20, 2012
By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – As part of his ongoing transition into office, St. John the Baptist Sheriff-elect Mike Tregre joined 22 other newly elected sheriffs from across the state for a one-week comprehensive training program conducted by the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association.
Tregre, along with his recently appointed Chief Deputy Tregg Wilson, was given lessons on ethics, hiring, budgets and the general day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office from an assortment of current and former sheriffs from across the state. He said the course also included a speech from U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who made it clear that he would be among those closely paying attention as the new sheriffs take over.
“He came right out and made it known that he has a job to do, and he has shown that,” Tregre said. “The public has displayed confidence in us, and we have been asked not to violate that public trust.”
Tregre said part of the class focused on case studies regarding former sheriffs accused or convicted of improper actions in office. One of the more recent cases involved former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle, who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from a businessman whose company oversaw construction of the parish jail.
“It made it clear to us that we must do what we were elected to do,” Tregre said. “Our offices are under the microscope times 10. I acknowledge that, and I accept it. Ethics training is going to be an important element of my administration.”
Tregre said he is still in the process of formulating his organizational chart for the department and is still doing interviews with current officers in the Sheriff’s Office. Tregre said other than Wilson no other administrative appointments have been finalized.
Tregre did, however say that he has started work on some new policies and procedures for the office and has also started the process of fitting deputies with new uniforms, including new colors, badges and patches.
“You will be able to see us very distinctly,” Tregre said. “I’m getting away from the all black. It will be completely different.”
One of the key procedures Tregre wants to set in place is the Sheriff’s Office’s handling of hurricane season in St. John Parish, specifically when it comes to the worst case scenario.
“Come hell or high water we need to know what the worst case scenario plan is,” Tregre said. “Where do we regroup? How do we reconnect and get going again? These are things that need to be discussed.”
He also talked of creating a support group for families of deputies who must stay behind in the event of a storm while the rest of the community seeks safer refuge.
“One of the toughest times for deputies is hurricane season and it is even tougher on families,” Tregre said. “I want the families to know what they need to prepare for.”
Tregre said he would have an open office and would offer tours of the Sheriff’s Offices and the parish jail.
“I want residents to be more aware of our capabilities and our limitations,” Tregre said. “I want them to see what we do. I want that level of cooperation with residents to be high because it makes our job that much easier.”
Tregre said his inauguration day is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, at 10 a.m.
It will begin with a mass at Our Lady of Grace Church and a ceremony at East St. John High School will follow.