Citizens Academy opens up Sheriff’s Office to St. John

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre knows most people have no idea what he and his deputies really do each day or how they do it.

He blames that on TV.

“TV gives people a misconception that everything is easy,” Tregre said. “They see every crime solved, nice and neat, in an hour. It doesn’t work that way.”

In an effort to give citizens a truer picture of the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office, Tregre is organizing the first St. John Parish Citizens Academy to begin next month.

Tregre said the 10 sessions will cover everything from 911 calls to crime scene investigations to administrative services and allow citizens an inside look at how law enforcement personnel do their jobs.

“We want to give them a true idea of what we do every day and how we do it,” Tregre said. “We want them to know what the Sheriff’s Office is all about.”

The 10-week session will be held from 5:45 to 9 p.m. each Thursday from April 27 through June 29 at Patrol Headquarters, 122 Deputy Barton Granier Dr. in LaPlace.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old and live or work in St. John Parish. The course is free.

A background check is required, and applicants must pledge to attend all classes. Participants will be notified upon acceptance into the Academy.

Visit to download an application. Return it in person to Deputy Bernell Charles Sr. at SJSO, Percy Hebert Building, 1801 W. Airline Hwy. in LaPlace 70068 or mail to Deputy Bernell Charles at St. John Sheriff’s Office, P.O. Box 1600, LaPlace, LA, 70069.

The registration deadline is April 7.

A graduation ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. June 29.

Tregre said he has wanted to conduct a Citizens Academy for a long time, looking to the success of the one held by Sheriff Greg Champagne in neighboring St. Charles Parish for several years.

Capt. Pat Yoes, the public information officer for the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, said the annual event has been a huge success.

“Ask anyone who has ever been through one and they’ll tell you how beneficial it was,” Yoes said.

“It not only gives the public a chance to see what we do, it also gives us an opportunity to shine a light on our organization. Each segment is taught by a person in that department and they enjoy talking about what they do.”

Participants at Tregre’s Citizens Academy will learn about 911 calls, community and public relations, uniform patrol division, K-9 unit, traffic, the reserve division, the criminal investigations division, the narcotics/special operations division, the crisis management unit, fleet management, training and information technology, internal affairs, polygraphs, corrections, sex offender registry, crime scene investigations, firearms training, human resources and administrative services.

Charles, who is a graduate of the St. Charles Parish Citizens Academy and is helping organize the St. John Academy, said he is looking forward to seeing citizens get a better look at the department.

“Most people don’t realize how much training those people go through,” Charles said. “They don’t just give them a uniform and a weapon and send them out there. (Participants) will get a first-hand look at what I got to see.”

The registration deadline is April 7. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and must live or work in St. John Parish. The course is free. For more information call 985-359-8685.