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Tregre: Sheriff’s Office expanding, bringing team together at Percy Hebert Building

Room to grow! Room to breathe!

Well, looks like my neighbors are moving away.  Not my residential neighbors, but my working neighbors.

The Percy Hebert Building has been the work home of multiple Sheriffs, Parish Presidents, Assessors and the Registrar of Voters for the past 47 years.

But, the building has gotten very quiet recently.

Each day, we are missing the visitors who came to the Sheriff side of the building to pay their water bills, or coming to court (hours or days late and at the wrong location) or some who want to argue about paying too much for property taxes, or those who came to vote too early or too late.

And then there are some that just wanted to visit or talk to the employees in the building with no official business at all.

In 2019, the St. John Sheriff’s Office will be expanding to occupy most of the Percy Hebert Building since the other entities have moved across the parking lot in the new government complex.

So let me share with everyone the future plans as to how SJSO will utilize more of the building.

At last, SJSO will be completely out of the rental business. The current Criminal Investigations Division is located on Belle Terre Boulevard next to the LA Federal Credit Union.

The building does not look like a substation or a police building, which sometimes makes people feel more comfortable.

We have a pond where children who are victims of crimes can feed the ducks in the rear of the building and this may help them relax or calm down in order to take their mind off the current situation.

However, we pay $4,700 monthly for rent and once the Criminal Investigation Division is relocated to the Percy Hebert Building, those funds can be used constructively somewhere else.

Our Narcotics Division was located in a rental building not long ago but we found that location to be very visible in its central location.

Perpetrators had been seen taking pictures of undercover unmarked cars in order to recognize them on the streets. So we recently purchased a building, which was renovated to suit the needs of our narcotics officers.

As for those cars they were taking pictures of, well they are still at the former location with whomever they belonged to.

In the near future, we will design a chart to guide citizens to the proper location once they enter the building. We are working toward a smooth transition of department locations inside the building so our staff will continue to be readily available to handle transactions (accident or incident reports, ticket payments, taxes) without getting lost in the building and wasting precious time.

Planning for the future is a very exciting task.

Now I get to see more of my smiling employees faces every day under one roof and they get to see mine.

As the Jeffersons would say “moving on up” … well kind of.

Happy 2019 St. John!

Mike Tregre is sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. Reach him at m.tregre@stjohnsheriff.org.