The Sheriff is the most powerful law enforcement officer in any given parish.  Over the past few weeks, several Sheriffs in Louisiana have been investigated by the Louisiana Board of Ethics for ethics violations. 

According to The Advocate, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre was funneling business from the Sheriff’s Office to a business he owned.  Grant Parish Sheriff Pop Hataway is charged with using his influence to allow detainees to be released without required bond fees and under reduced bonds.

Given the world of technology and citizens who thrive as armchair detectives and watchdogs, it is a major mistake to misuse the power of a Sheriff’s Office.  Apparently, the Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish, Sid Gautreaux, is about to come under fire for potential ethics violations. 

What are these guys thinking?  They are supposed to follow the law, not break the law.

There is no doubt that our Sheriff is the top law enforcement officer.  The responsibility of this position is huge.  He oversees more than 850 employees and a budget of more than $65 million.  It is the responsibility of voters to ensure that he properly administers and directs personnel by setting an example. 

Looking back to last year, the Baton Rouge Business Report broke the news that Sheriff Sid Gautreaux spent over $43,000 on a personal vehicle.  The ‘bling’on Gautreaux’s fine ride included a chrome package, sun roof, heated seats, Bose sound system, navigation system, rear view camera back-up, and DVD televisions front and rear.  Response from the Sheriff’s spokesperson was this was ‘an appropriate accommodation for the Sheriff’.  (Red Stick Police Chief Jeff Leduff drives a police cruiser.)  His entourage of top people enjoyed the same type of vehicles along with other ‘hand picked’ personnel in the sheriff’s office.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

Last fall Mayor Kip Holden told the voters we needed to pass a tax/bond issue; a key component of that issue was to build a new administration building that would house the Sheriff of EBRP. 

A couple days ago, I heard that Sheriff Gautreaux already moved to Harding Boulevard offices where Mayor Holden’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness are housed. 

Tell me why we need that tax again?

Former Sheriff Greg Phares exposed Gautreaux for being absent as Police Chief of Baker.  It is my understanding that Gautreaux is repeating this character trait as Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish. 

We expect leaders to be present, not serving as absentee landlords.

When we elected Gautreaux, he made some hefty promises to the voters including cutting a top-heavy bureaucracy, yet he has almost tripled the number of promotions than any previous administration. 

Gautreaux promised to put more deputies on the road; how many more do we have today?  Once again, our media has not investigated or reported on this topic.  Do we have more deputies actively patrolling the parish or not?  How many?

Gautreaux said that former Sheriff Greg Phares’ anti-terrorist boat was a misuse of money (even though Phares said it was paid for by a grant).  Yet, recently the Sheriff took out an ad in The Advocate touting this same boat. 

Was this just political campaign talk, as usual?

Since elected, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux has touted his accomplishments including Zachary and Pride substations.  The Zachary station was actually opened by the former sheriff in 2007.  

More political double-speak?

We elected Gautreaux, with Mayor Kip Holden’s endorsement.  We voted for change, for a leader that would maintain the integrity of the Sheriff’s office.  Did we do the right thing? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican