Aug. 9, 2012 After being sworn-in as sheriff on July 1, the rest of the month was a swirl of activity as we realigned some of our command staff, made significant spending cuts and unveiled new uniforms, arm patches and a new badge.
We will continue working on the budget to lower costs and are still working toward a new style for Sheriff’s Office vehicles, which will be black and white with the emblem of the badge on the side.
A realignment of some of our command staff and rank structure has been accomplished and it positions us well for the future. The command staff is made up almost entirely of graduates of the FBI National Training Academy, which I am proud to say.
I have said for some time I believe the Sheriff’s Office is putting its best team on the field that we have ever had.
I am very fortunate to have Richard Baumy, a veteran of both the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office and a former homicide detective for the New Orleans Police Department, as Chief Deputy Sheriff.
Others on the staff include:
Col. David Mowers, head of the Corrections Division; Col. John Doran, Operations Commander; John Vickers, Director of Administration; Maj. Mark Poche, head of Special Operations Division; Maj. Pete Tufaro, head of Technical Services; Maj. Chad Clark, head of Special Investigations Division.
Maj. Robert McNab, head of the Criminal Investigations Bureau; Maj. Adolph Kreger, Patrol Division; Maj. David DiMaggio, Training Director; Maj. Mitch Roussell, head of the Communications Division; Maj. Kevin Sensebe, Assistant Warden.
We have also added another training officer position in our department.
I intend this Sheriff’s Office to be all about the training we can provide for our deputies. It’s part of our constant No. 1 goal: Protection of the parish and suppression of crime.
Our officers have gotten many compliments from St. Bernard Parish residents and from other law enforcement agencies on the new look of the uniforms. They were bought from seizures of cash and vehicles in drug arrests, money that couldn’t be used in the regular operation of the Sheriff’s Office.
We now have khaki-colored shirts for deputies, with navy blue pants which have a double pin stripe down the side. Ranking officers have white shirts. We think the new uniform, patch and six-pointed badge are distinctive and sharp. Chime in with your opinion the next time you see one of our men or women in uniform.
There were other changes in July.
The department budget has been worked on as sales tax revenue has fallen from what it was before Hurricane Katrina – the same problem numerous public agencies have had in the New Orleans area.
Some of the things we have done include placing a hiring freeze at the Sheriff’s Office. We have not hired anyone since Jan.1. In the meantime, the number of employees has shrunk from about 315 to less than 290 as some have retired and some went to other jobs.
Also changed is the take-home car policy under which deputies pay $150 a month for the right to use a vehicle when they are off-duty.
Now, under a new policy, those who live outside St. Bernard Parish aren’t eligible to take home a department vehicle, which saves on insurance costs, gasoline costs and overall wear-and-tear.
And there have also been other changes resulting in savings.
We still have some chipping away to do but we are getting where I want to be.