THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017 - THE BALCONY BALLROOM
Tonight…. I am taking the first step towards a lifelong dream.
You see, as a child growing up in my household, I learned that there was nothing more noble than serving the public in uniform. While many of my childhood friends have vivid memories of their Dad’s lunch pail or briefcase, my memory is of his shiny badge sitting on the kitchen table.
From my Dad to my uncles and cousins, I was reminded every day of the meaning of sacrifice and the importance of fidelity to truth and honor. So, on the day I earned my badge…well, naturally…it was one of the proudest days of my life. For 46 years I wore that badge over my heart as a prevalent reminder of my oath to protect and serve.
Just as Paul Harvey voiced…there were times when I felt like a minister, a social worker, or a mediator. There were times when working a solo beat that I felt isolated, but I was never alone because of the band of brothers and sisters who were there to support me, in spite of the dangers we faced. There were times when I was sad, happy, frustrated, confused, and yet there was never a time when I wanted to be anything but a police officer.
That brings me to today. Leadership takes many forms. I believe one of the hallmarks of leadership is standing up for what you believe in. So here are a few of my beliefs. In law enforcement, I believe a chain of command saves lives. I believe rising through the ranks builds pride, confidence, and experience. I believe training and years on the job result in safer streets and stronger protection. When it comes to selecting our public servants, I believe in elections, not coronations. That’s why I believe our next Sheriff should be chosen by the people, not by a politician.
I offer the following… a history of earning my way through the ranks from Cadet – and ultimately to Colonel. I offer the wisdom gained from working under three very different Sheriffs. I offer the diplomatic skills to bring opposing views into a common focus, the command skills to guide and lead a force of 1,500-plus truly dedicated men and women, and the institutional knowledge of knowing the past and how it impacts the future. I have been on the beat, on the trail, on the case, and on the job for 46 years. I have worn my badge with pride AND with a passion for the responsibilities that come with it. I relish the assignment, not just the title. In plain words, I have prepared my whole life to say to you and the people of Jefferson Parish, “I am trained and tested. And I am a candidate for Sheriff of Jefferson Parish.”
Upon retiring to run for Sheriff, I have been humbled by the outpouring of support from people I have never even met. I have been encouraged by my family and friends to follow my heart. And I have heard the words of people who echo a shared sentiment…that crime is becoming more of a concern here in Jefferson Parish.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Our community is safer than other communities throughout this country. But recent headlines still tell an alarming story: The reports of stray bullets hitting the innocent, shootouts in our neighborhoods and nightclubs, and robberies at local convenient stores throughout Jefferson Parish. These are some of the real threats against our safety that must come to an end.
I’ve worked under three Sheriffs. I’ve learned from each. But my style will be somewhat similar to that of the late Sheriff Harry Lee. I admired him because he was a ‘tell-it-like-it-is leader’ who had a heart of gold and a spine of steel. It was his compassion for people and intolerance for criminals that energized the force behind him. Jefferson Parish is ready for that same “Rip-crime-from-its-roots-Sheriff” now more than ever… and I’m ready to start doing just that to make our streets safer.
Smart deployment of manpower, better accountability to our community, and stronger relations between officers and the people we serve will be some of the priorities for our office. We will ensure quick response times and vigilant patrols. Our units will be everywhere to send a clear warning to offenders. If my officers see something, they will say something. I won’t let political correctness get in the way of policing. I will expect my officers to be fair and just in their actions and decision making in our ever-changing society.
I believe strongly in returning to true community policing where deputies patrol to deter and stop crime in our neighborhoods and on our streets. I will encourage my officers to build relationships within our communities, with the young and old and from all walks of life.
I will create an Elderly Abuse Prevention Unit to help give our senior citizens the protection they need and the peace of mind they deserve. I will use the Unit to help our seniors better understand how to avoid becoming victimized by violence, scams or predators.
I believe in a complete criminal justice system, therefore, we will build a better relationship with the District Attorney’s office by improving communication and stronger cooperation as we go from arrest through conviction.
I will be releasing a plan of innovative crime fighting initiatives. That plan alone will give our citizens a covenant for peace. It will be a strong, sensible, achievable plan to make Jefferson Parish as safe as it once was. I’ll be a pro-active, hands-on Sheriff. Crime fighting is in my blood, so I will reveal a plan to keep blood from spilling onto our streets… proving why ‘experience matters.’
I will show no compassion for lawless conduct. I know that crime and violence have no boundaries. Crime is an attack on the poor and the rich, the young and the old, and on people from all walks of life… and only a trained, tested leader can bring us to safety because ‘experience matters.’
Now, I’m not a mind-reader, nor am I Nostradamus, but I can assure you tonight that the vast majority of politicians will stand with my opponent. That’s okay. I’m not a politician, so I’m not in the business of making deals. While some stand with him, I will stand against politics as usual: putting people first with a plan to put criminals behind bars proving why ‘experience matters.’
And on election day, after we have walked the streets, delivered our message, campaigned tirelessly, ignored the predictable gutter politics and waved the flag of justice… we will prove that Jefferson Parish voters will get it right once again… because they know that ‘EXPERIENCE MATTERS.’
Thank you. Enjoy the evening. And let’s go win this election for justice… for all.