Meet The Candidates: St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff
Published 8:29 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023
- Michael Kerry Tregre
Date of Birth: 07/15/1966
Profession/ Current Employer/ Retired: I have been employed as a deputy by St. John Sheriff’s Office since February 1, 1988, with the exception of the time I left the Sheriff’s Office to prepare to run for Sheriff in 2011. I currently serve as the Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office for the past 11 years.
Why did you choose to run for Sheriff? I am running for re-election for a fourth term as Sheriff of St. John Parish. During my tenure as Sheriff, I have teamed up with hard working deputies to develop an effective, efficient and well-trained department.
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? In 2011, I advertised a list of accomplishments that was my vision for this department. I have not veered from my initial campaign promises. Today, that list is completed, including a $10 million state-of-the-art training center, used by Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement organizations for enhanced training in their perspective areas. I have worked hard with the deputies to developed an environment of trust with the citizens of St. John, especially with the youth of our parish, in order to deter them from committing crime.
What is the No. 1 public safety concern in St. John Parish, and how do you plan to address this? Juvenile crime is a major concern for law enforcement on many levels. The housing of juveniles that are dangerous habitual offenders has been an issue for all levels of law enforcement for many years now. I have been working with OJJ (the Office of Juvenile Justice) to solve this problem over the past year and I plan to continue to collaborate with the key individuals until we have a solution that is right for everyone involved.
What would you like to accomplish in the next four years? In this next term, it is imperative that we upgrade our 911/Communications Center. After the effects of COVID on our department, it became very clear that our dispatchers need more distancing, better technology and a safe and comfortable work environment. The Parish President and I have already toured neighboring Sheriff’s Office 911 Centers in order to have an idea of how we can meet the needs of our department. I will be working on this partnership with the Parish to make this goal a reality. In addition, I have been talking to leaders of our School System and Judicial System to get a Criminal Justice Elective added to the course curriculum. When this is established, high school students can learn about how the criminal justice system works and possibly train for a career in law enforcement before graduation.
- Jarret Vicknair
Date of Birth: 11/07/1969
Profession/ Current Employer / Retired: Retired Sheriff deputy from St John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office
Why did you choose to run for Sheriff?: “I, Jarret Vicknair, with over 30 years of experience with St. John’s Sheriff’s Department, am currently running for Sheriff. I am highly qualified to continue utilizing my wealth of knowledge, expertise, and dedication to our parish. I vow to restore faith and trust to our citizens while professionally combatting crime. By fostering trust through increased engagement, active listening, and genuine empathy, we can create an environment where everyone feels safe, protected, and heard. In order to do so, I pledge to prioritize resources towards crime prevention, increasing patrols, enhance training programs, and fostering partnerships that promote education and youth development. Together, we can restore confidence and faith in our Sheriff’s Office and usher in a new era of effective law enforcement that puts the safety and well-being of our community first. I am FAIR because I CARE!”
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? For the past three decades, I have had the privilege of gaining invaluable hands-on experience working with the sheriff’s office. This extensive tenure has equipped me with a deep understanding of the inner workings and challenges faced by law enforcement professionals. Integrity and maintaining strong ethical standards have always been at the forefront of my professional approach. I firmly believe that upholding these principles is not only crucial for fostering trust within our community but also for ensuring justice is served. In addition to my integrity, I possess exceptional leadership and management skills. Throughout my career, I have successfully led teams, inspiring them to achieve their highest potential while promoting a collaborative and supportive work environment. My ability to effectively communicate and build relationships has proven instrumental in establishing strong partnerships with community members, fellow officers, and other stakeholders. Problem-solving and decision-making are skills that I have honed over the years. As a member of law enforcement, quick thinking and sound judgment are essential traits in navigating complex situations while prioritizing public safety. Furthermore, my cultural competence allows me to embrace diversity within our community. Recognizing the importance of understanding different cultures and backgrounds enables me to serve as a bridge between law enforcement and all individuals we protect. This inclusivity fosters trust among diverse communities while promoting mutual respect. In conclusion, my 30 years of hands-on experience within the sheriff’s office have shaped me into a dedicated professional who possesses integrity, leadership abilities, effective communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, decision-making prowess, and cultural competence. With these qualities combined, I am confident in my ability to contribute positively towards maintaining public safety while upholding justice in our community.
What is the no 1 public safety concern in St. John Parish, and how do you plan to address this? After careful examination, the no 1 public safety concern we face is youth violence. In our community, youth violence has become an urgent issue that demands immediate attention. That’s why we need a sheriff who is dedicated to implementing effective strategies and fostering programs aimed at promoting education and youth development. I understand that taking proactive measures is the key to creating a safer environment for our young generation. One of my primary goals is to establish teen mentoring programs, where experienced individuals can guide and support young individuals in their personal growth and decision-making processes. By providing positive role models and guidance, we can help steer our youth away from violent behaviors and towards a path of success. Additionally, I recognize the importance of building rapport between law enforcement officers and our youth. By creating opportunities for meaningful interactions, such as community events or school initiatives, we can bridge the gap between them. This not only helps foster trust but also encourages open communication channels where concerns can be addressed effectively. Furthermore, I, Jarret Vicknair, firmly believe in adopting a better approach when interacting with agitated youth. Instead of resorting to force or intimidation tactics, I understand the value of de-escalation techniques. By employing strategies that help agitated youth regain self-control through empathy and understanding, we can prevent volatile situations from escalating further. Lastly, collaboration is at the forefront of my agenda. I will advocate for working closely with School Resource Officers (SRO) to develop comprehensive plans that address the root causes of youth violence within educational institutions. By pooling resources and expertise together, we can create an environment where every child feels safe and supported. In conclusion, it is clear that our community needs a sheriff who prioritizes reducing youth violence through education programs, teen mentoring initiatives, building rapport with both officers and young individuals alike, adopting a better approach during interactions with agitated youths, as well as collaborating closely with SROs. Together with my dedication, we can forge a path towards a safer and brighter future for our youth.
What would you like to accomplish in the next four years? As your sheriff, I am committed to bringing positive change and innovation to our community. Over the next four years, my mission is to prioritize key areas that are crucial for a safer and more prosperous future. Education plays a vital role in shaping our society, especially when it comes to our children. One of my top priorities will be ensuring that money stays within the school system, providing ample resources for our kids’ education. By investing in education, we are investing in their future success and empowering them to become responsible citizens. To enhance safety within our community, I strongly believe in fostering a collaborative environment between law enforcement and schools. By working closely with School Resource Officers (SROs), we can create a safe learning environment where students can thrive without fear. This collaboration will involve regular communication, coordination of safety protocols, and establishing trust between law enforcement officers and students. Furthermore, I understand the importance of having an increased police presence on our streets. To address this concern effectively, I plan to allocate resources towards hiring additional patrol officers who will actively work towards preventing crime and ensuring public safety. With more officers on the streets, we can respond quickly to emergencies and proactively address community concerns. Additionally, as part of my aggressive recruiting program for local officers, I am dedicated to attracting highly qualified individuals who are passionate about serving their community. By selecting candidates who align with our values of integrity and dedication to public service, we can build a strong team that truly represents the diverse needs of our community. Lastly but equally important is fostering better police-community relations through increased officer involvement within the neighborhood. Our officers will actively engage with residents by participating in community events, organizing neighborhood watch programs, and establishing open lines of communication. These initiatives will not only strengthen trust but also enable us to address issues at their root cause while building stronger bonds between law enforcement officials and residents. As your sheriff, I am committed to creating an inclusive, safe, and thriving community. By investing in education, working closely with SROs, increasing patrol officers on the streets, implementing an aggressive recruiting program for local officers, and promoting active community involvement from our law enforcement team, I am confident that together we can build a brighter future for all.