Tregre: Sheriff’s Office dedicated in response to St. John violence

Published 12:02 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

“Evil prevails when good men do nothing” ~ Sir Edmond Burke.

This quote was shared with me back in 2009 and it stays in the back of my mind as I go to work each and every day.

The month of May has been vicious in St. John Parish. Two young men were shot on Mother’s Day afternoon. One of the men shot was later arrested in connection with a 2015 double homicide.

This particular young man has been shot before and arrested many times with pending criminal cases set for court in St. John and St. Tammany Parishes.

The following Sunday a young man was murdered after being followed on his motorcycle. Crime cameras captured all of the action before, during and after his death. Two suspects have been arrested in the incident.

Last Tuesday, a father and his 4-year-old daughter were both shot and killed in Joe Parquet Circle in LaPlace. The reward for information in this case has increased from $10,000 by CrimeStoppers partnering with SJSO to $20,000 thanks to a couple of businessman who wish to remain anonymous.

While processing the scene no one came forward with any information to solve the double murder. But once a new day began, the word of the tragedy started to spread and the phones started ringing and social media came to life.

Expectations were that this case would be solved in a day, just like on TV. But in these times, if investigators do not have 1) a confession, 2) the murder weapon, 3) the crime on video, 4) DNA evidence linking the suspect to the crime, and/or 5) an eyewitness (depending on the credibility of the witness), we have to keep on working long past the first 48 hours.

Too many innocent people have been wrongly convicted in this country, and, perhaps, this explains why the bar on getting convictions has been raised very high.

Unfortunately, the young men arrested in these two separate cases mentioned are no strangers to law enforcement. I feel confident that a large majority of the crime in St. John is committed by an estimated 10 percent of our population.

My biggest challenge is to keep officers motivated and focused on our mission of a safer St. John. Some days it just feels like criminal activity is a dam that has a leak. You plug it with your finger but you can feel the pressure of the water building behind it.

Then more leaks start and you are trying to hold the water back with your fingers and toes. Then you call for backup that consists of other officers, citizens, pastors and other agencies just to hold the water back from damaging our community.

But all in all, we know that it will take many fingers and toes to help the dam do what it was meant to do … protect us all.

On social media I asked that God would lead me to the suspect or suspects and I got criticized for that. I know that you can’t please everyone, because Jesus had 12 disciples and they all didn’t follow him either.

I am far from the Son of God, but I know that God brought me to this calling, no matter how difficult it may be and I accept the challenge.

Mike Tregre is sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. Reach him at