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Leadership Tangipahoa

Press Releases

Date Press Release

Robin Battles Gray's Letter to the Editor on the Criminal Justice Session

For Immediate Release:                                                       2/24/16
Contact:                                                                                 Angelique Richardson, CPA, NP, CGMA

Robin Battles Gray's Letter to the Editor on the Criminal Justice Session

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, the current members of Leadership Tangipahoa met to view and learn about the criminal justice system in our Parish.  Our first stop of the morning was the Tangipahoa Communications District #1 or 9-1-1 Center in Amite.  The Director, Mr. Dennis Darouse, was very informative.  He stated that the District serves as the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for our parish as well as St. Helena Parish.    They also manage the addressing for rural areas of the parish and the cities of Tickfaw, Independence, Roseland, and Tangipahoa.  Mr. Darouse emphasized the need for residents to sign up on line for Smart911 to provide first responders valuable information about themselves, family members, their home, and even their pets.  This can save valuable time if an emergency should occur.  To register, go to www.smart911.com.  Mr. Darouse also urged everyone to put their land lines back into their homes because should they have an emergency and call 9-1-1 via cell phone, only the tower location and call back number is available to the first responders.  If they are unable to speak, emergency responders may not be able to locate them. He also urged residents put 5" mail box numbers on both sides of their mail box so they can be located quickly.

We then took a quick drive to the Tangipahoa Parish Prison where Lieutenant Finn provided a very eye opening tour.  The prison houses Parish offenders as well as State and Federal offenders.  The funds from the housing of State and Federal offenders helps to offset the Parish's cost of running the prison.  We learned that, although the prison is well staffed, the turnover rate is high due to long hours and low pay for this type of demanding work.  Needless to say, we were all very happy to be released to the fresh outside air!  We then visited the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center, located on Highway 190 in Covington. Mr. Pat Farris, the 7th Ward Marshal, provided a tasty lunch and an overview of the 21st Judicial District Court system.  Nine judges and District Attorney Scott Perrilloux's office comprise the District.  The 7th Ward Marshal's office also keeps busy providing services to 61,000 people from North Wardline Road in Hammond, east to the Tangipahoa River, south to the St. John Parish line, and west to Livingston Parish. 

After lunch, Joseph Dominick and Russell Sanders of the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center filled us in on the important service the Center provides.  It is truly an integral part of the Criminal Justice System in Tangipahoa Parish and the surrounding parishes of Livingston, St. Tammany, St. Helena, and Washington.  Without this facility, child offenders would be put back on the streets or locked up with adult offenders.  Although it is a restrictive environment, it is neat, clean, well run, and provides a chance for children and young people from ages 10-18 to be rewarded for the positive behavior they exhibit rather than being punished for negative.  They can continue their education, be provided with medical services, psychiatric services, drug screening, anger management, substance abuse and trauma counseling.  Hopefully this facility provides these young people with some chance of a normal, productive life after being released.

Our next adventure was a drive to Hammond and the Tangipahoa Parish Police Substation.  Tonilyn Guidry with the Sheriff's Office gave us a rundown of the three divisions of the Sheriff's Office and the services they provide.  Sheriff Daniel Edwards met with us and discussed his office and the trends he is seeing relative to crime in our Parish. Lieutenant Tommy Ferrand of the K9 Division gave a presentation on their use of German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.  The TPSO currently has four K9s  working in criminal apprehension, building and area searches, evidence and narcotics detection, crowd control, and tracking of fleeing suspects.  We were excited to see Lt. Ferrand's dog in action.  We were then educated by Mr. Toby Aguillard of the Internet Crimes Against Children Division, who made us frighteningly aware of the many disturbing techniques used by cyber bullies, cyber stalkers, internet predators, and child exploitation through child pornography and other means.

Our class is certainly now more aware of the valuable resource that we have here in Tangipahoa Parish and would like to thank those who met with us as well as all employees in our criminal justice system for the excellent job they do to protect us each day.

Robin Battles Gray, MBA
Business Manager, Holly and Smith Architects, APAC
Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2015/16