Sheriff hopefuls vie to lead St. John law enforcement

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, September 16, 2015

LAPLACE — Four candidates have put their names in the hat for Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. Voters will make their final decision during the Oct. 24 election.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said he is not worried about the other three people running against him. He believes having more people vying for his job means there is interest in the position, adding the competition “keeps him sharp.”

Tregre, a democrat, is running against Clifford Bailey, Michael Hoover and Samantha Wilson, all Democrats.

“It’s a grate job, I love it,” Tregre said. “I first ran to make a difference, and I stick by that. I’m not sure why the other candidates are running, but I’m sure we will find out.”

Former Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael Hoover said four candidates means people are ready for a change.

“There are a lot of different factors that have to be looked at, but it seems that people are not satisfied with how things are going so far,” Hoover said.

Hoover said he plans to separate himself from the other candidates by the initiatives he plans to enact if elected.

“I want to bring back communication partnerships through education, service and crime prevention,” Hoover said. “There needs to be proactive policing, specialized training of units to deal with crimes and professional accountability on all levels of the Sheriff’s Office.”

Bailey said St. John voters should see it as a positive that numerous candidates have filed for the position.

“I think it’s  good when you have more people interested in leading the parish forward,” Bailey said. “It’s good to have more involvement. You get different experiences and different opinions. I think everyone in this race is qualified to move St. John the Baptist Parish forward.”

Bailey said his “vast” experience in entrepreneurship and knowledge of community awareness will help separate him from other candidates.

“Personally, I think the Sheriff’s Office needs to go back to the basics,” Bailey said. “It should be more involved with the community. The crime in the parish is outrageous. We have more crime in this small parish then in New Orleans. I want to get the youth more involved with different programs and get them off the street.”

After all is said and done, Tregre said his record as Sheriff and his experience with the parish make him the best option for sheriff.

“I’ve worked almost every division in the St. John’s Sheriff’s Office, except for 911,” Tregre said. “I have years of service and commitment. I’ll stand on my record with both feet.”

Numerous attempts seeking comment from Wilson at the number she registered with the Secretary of State’s Office and her former place of employment were unsuccessful.

The last day to register to vote is Sept. 23. Early voting for the Oct. 24 election takes place Oct. 10-17 at the Registrar of Voters Office inside the Percy Herbert Building in LaPlace and at the Edgard Courthouse.

Seniors, individuals with mobility impairments, students and residents who will be out-of-town for the elections can vote by mail.

Those who want to obtain mail-in ballots should call 985-652-9797.

— By Raquel Derganz Baker