Leadership Tangipahoa had another successful session this month. The month of February was dedicated to the criminal justice system. We started out our morning in Amite with Clerk of Court Julian Dufreche explaining to us how the Clerk of Court’s office works. He explained that his office works entirely off of filing fees and is most visible during election times. Next we were honored to have Judge Brenda Ricks greet us and tell us about the work that the Judges perform in the 21st district. The judges hear civil and criminal cases and the crimes can range from minor traffic violations to capital murder.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux spoke about the DA’s office and told us they oversee approximately 5,000 major cases a year. One of the reasons for success to the DA’s office is quality Assistant District Attorneys. The District Attorney has been successful in trying to raise the pay of assistants to help retain his staff.
We left the confines of the Clerk of Court Annex and proceeded to the Parish Jail. We were first met by Sgt. Kevin Trabona and were enlightened to the capabilities of the Sheriff’s office K9 division. We watched several demonstrations of the individual dogs and were told by Sgt. Trabona that the dogs have seized more than 1 million dollars in illegal drugs and cash. We proceeded to get a tour of the Parish Jail by Deputy Bud Cason. We were able to see first hand the over crowding of the Parish Jail, you would think that 526 beds would be enough, but it was clear that the Parish could use more space. Deputy Cason wanted us to decide who needed to be released to make room for the next detainee, not an easy decision; but one the Warden makes every day. We decided that we wanted to be released. Sheriff Daniel Edwards then treated us to lunch.
Next we braved some heavy rains and proceeded to the Florida Parish Juvenile Detention Center. Fellow class mate Russell Sanders greeted us; he explained the workings of the detention center. He explained that the center changed from an institutional to a therapeutic concept in 2006 under the direction of Director Tom Jarlock. Since 2006 they have seen success in the close to 1200 juveniles that pass through their doors each year. The program helps inform the juveniles on how to make the right decisions in life. Upon touring the facility you can tell that the facility and staff promote a positive image to the children and young adults.
I have been around Public Safety for 25 years and I am still fascinated with the inner workings of the Tangipahoa Parish Criminal Justice System. I was allowed this privilege as a participant of Leadership Tangipahoa. Leadership Tangipahoa has enlightened its members on all aspects of leadership and how to think outside of the box. I like to think that not only should you think outside of the box but also you should broaden your box with new ideas and concepts. All this can be accomplished through Leadership Tangipahoa.
I would like to thank Mayor Mayson Foster and Fire Chief Paul Collura for allowing me to participate in a very enlightening organization.