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Tregre: St. John parade krewes deliver fun, safe experiences

Finally parade season comes to a close.

Krewes of Towapasha, DuMonde and newcomer Dage’ ran as smoothly as we hoped. The parade on Sunday was the largest ever and it has to potential to get larger.

On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the best, I would rate it a 9!

I have come to realize that many participants in the parade are not aware of the number of meetings between government agencies to make this entire weekend a success.

Text messages, emails and phone calls to discuss all aspects of public safety and security of all participants in the parades and those who attended the parades start as soon as the New Year Holiday is over.

Organizing our own manpower assignments, as well as those of multiple visiting agencies who assist with parade security, is no easy task.

I’m sure citizens take notice of the officers on the parade route that are not wearing SJSO uniforms.

When you see them, give them a handshake and a big “thank you” for coming to St. John Parish and helping us out. Our officers try to return the favor when those officers need assistance for a fair or festival in their jurisdictions from all across the state.

Well, this year the weather predictions for our parade weekend made preparations much more difficult. We watched the weather forecast start off with an 80 percent chance of rain with severe thunderstorms and then change for the better and then the worse all week long.

The weather predictions last year gave us some experience in moving Sunday’s parade along in a small window of opportunity. Moving the parade up one hour worked in our favor, and everything fell right into place.

So when it comes to parade riders, please know that you need to be in place early in the event of uncontrollable circumstances that Mother Nature may bring us. Parish officials are already holding wrap-up meetings this week to discuss what we can improve upon next year.

On a different note, I need to give a huge shout out to some of our citizens who went above and beyond to save the life of an innocent motorist.

On Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, a group of citizens came together to rescue a female who was stuck from behind by a drunken motorist. The crash caused both vehicles to burst into flames.

Another motorist was right where she was supposed to be and recorded the life-saving efforts on her cell phone. Their efforts should remind us all that there are still good people all around us.

I believe a few more seconds and this traffic accident could have turned tragic. All of the rescuers, along with the young lady that recorded the incident, will be placed on the St. John Parish Council meeting agenda on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, for recognition of their heroic efforts.

Hopefully the young lady that was rescued can attend the Council Meeting so they could meet again on better terms this time.

So as we observe the Lenten Season, all I can say is “Stay safe out there.”

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