Tregre: Deputies ready for Back-to-School work

Published 12:01 am Saturday, August 8, 2015

Let me start by shouting, I am so happy that school is starting!

It has been a long, hot and busy summer, especially for St. John Sheriff’s Office. As I told the readers in the beginning of the summer, SJSO expected an uptick in some crime statistics when school is out.

We had an increase in two out of seven major crime categories. These increases are expected by SJSO, but not easily accepted by the citizens. Historically speaking, increases in criminal mischief have been happening during the summer for many years.

The two categories in our crime stats that resulted in increases by the end of June (the fiscal year) were theft and assaults. Burglary of unlocked vehicles, bicycles left in visual sight during the day and night and shoplifting have caused this uptick in the theft category.

I spent many months negotiating with Walmart executives to allow SJSO to fulfill the security detail at the LaPlace store. Because of the officers’ vigilance now that we supply the security, we have apprehended more shoplifters in recent months.

Reports of theft of lawn mowers, cell phones and video games have also led to the increase in the theft category. You know what they say, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

In an effort to promote safety in the business corridor, SJSO has teamed up with two local businessmen who have purchased bicycles for our department. Now, I will be starting the first ever SJSO bicycle patrol program in the coming months. The bike patrol will initially focus on the business area, along Airline Highway and surrounding areas with increased visibility, especially during the holiday shopping season.

Assaults increased over the summer because of calls for service due to disturbances or fights. This can range anywhere from an argument to a physical altercation with or without weapons.

Some calls for disturbance simply relate to loud music.

And as school is about to begin, SJSO has been busy taking steps to better plan for the upcoming school year and crime-prevention methods. School Resource Officers have attended seminars to better prepare them for the school year.

Juvenile Detectives attended anti-bullying seminars. Additional officers were sent to RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) training. These classes are offered free by SJSO to female citizens of all ages. Check our website and Facebook page for upcoming class schedules.

And finally, we have almost made it through hurricane season, but please keep your guard up and stay prepared. As a reminder, curfew will be at 9 p.m. on weekdays once school starts, and SJSO will be partnering with the school system to start knocking on doors to check on students who are absent from school.

And please don’t forget to slow down in school zones as we will be strictly enforcing speed zones when school starts.

Did I mention that I am happy that school is starting?

Mike Tregre is Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. He can be reached at