Who is St. John Parish’s Officer of the Year?

Published 12:05 am Saturday, January 16, 2016

LAPLACE — All in the community are welcome next week to celebrate the good work local deputies are doing during the 2015 Officer of the Year Award.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said the free event begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at the St. Michael’s Baptist Church Multi-Purpose Room, located at 201 Colony Park in LaPlace. Those wishing to attend are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 985-652-9513 for tickets so organizers know how much food is needed.

Out of the four officers named Officer of the Quarter, one will be named Officer of the Year. Tregre said the names of the candidates are not being released.

A committee of parish residents chooses the Officer of the Year, according to Tregre.

“One officer per quarter is selected,” Tregre said. “They need to be nominated by other officers or command staff or be recognized by doing a deed that was above and beyond their regular call of service.”

The officer that wins the title of Officer of the Year gets more than just recognition.

“They will get an award,” Tregre said. “They get preferential parking at the office, and they will travel with me to a conference with all of the Sheriffs.”

Tregre said there wasn’t an award ceremony like this when he was a deputy.

“To me, it boosts the officer’s drive to want to do better,” he said. “If they had this when I was out there, I would have wanted the award. I would have been out there trying to become officer of the year. I think that it is an honor and a privilege to be recognized. It’s a tough job, but they are doing a good job. I think that being officer of the year is quite an accomplishment.”

The Sheriff hopes parish youths attend the event. At a recent school career day, Tregre noticed many students did not want to go into law enforcement because they said they don’t like the police.

“There is a perception that police are bad, and I’m trying to change that,” he said. “After I spoke with the students for about an hour, we had a good discussion about how they felt about the police. I think I was able to give them a better understanding of what police do. It doesn’t take much for people to get the wrong impression of police officers, and I think that earning and maintaining the trust of citizens, especially our youth, is a work in progress.”

Tregre said the stories about the nominated officers aren’t ones people hear about or see on TV.

“People have no idea that these officers do so much,” he said. “I feel the awards ceremony is a good event. It boosts moral and it shows the citizens what we do everyday that they never hear about.”