Tregre: We are all in this together

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 11, 2020

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I think I missed the memo on how law enforcement fights an invisible serial killer. We are now in the age of shift briefings standing outside of patrol headquarters, command staff meetings by conference call and new gear to carry includes hand wipes, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

“How are you doing?” used to be rhetorical. The automatic answer was, “I’m good.” Now the question is, “How you holding up?” and it’s not rhetorical. For law enforcement, I can attest to the fact that these are some challenging times. Social distancing as a police officer is difficult when our job is frequently hands-on in nature. I am very proud of the members of SJSO who come to work and still do this job knowing the additional risks that exists on top of the previously known risks.

As Sheriff, I felt that implementing a curfew was a first small step to slowing down the rate of the spread of COVID 19. The numbers reported in St. John have been mentioned by Louisiana’s Governor and the President of the United States! And that’s not a positive thing. My decision was met with the full support of a majority of citizens with whom I spoke, but there are some in disagreement. I would also like to thank the citizens of St. John Parish who have cleared the streets during the curfew hours. As for those individuals that reminded me that the virus could still spread even during curfew…well, ”Bless your heart!

It has been very difficult to determine what is considered “essential” services. Different things are essential to different people. So in addition to the curfew, I recently asked the owners and managers of our country clubs and snow ball stands to close in an effort to promote the Governor’s Stay at Home order. The phone calls are frequent to express disagreement with not being able to play golf or getting snowballs or ice cream at the snow ball stand, but I will take those calls all day, compared to the ones where family members are in tears due to loss of a family member to COVID 19. In addition, seeing our Parish President on CNN (again, not for a good reason) means St. John needs some strict measures in order to get the mindset of our citizens in the right place to overcome this pandemic. We will be temporarily inconvenienced and uncomfortable but hopefully this serial killer will soon leave our community.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to recognize the businesses and owners who have come to our aid in this trying time. Lunch has been provided free of charge for our officers on duty from Chungs, Popeye’s, Da King of Wings and Petra. We have also had food prepared by our deputies and sponsored by our vendors such as Taser. This gives the deputies relief from standing in the lines at the restaurants they usually dine at when on duty.

SJSO programs like the Citizens Academy, self defense courses and some training for the members of SJSO have been postponed, but the job of law enforcement continues.

In closing I want to say “Happy Easter” to all of you! I pray that you all stay safe and stay home that our community comes together in one mindset to rid us of this pandemic. Remember, we are all in this together.

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