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Leadership Tangipahoa

Press Releases

Date Press Release
3/9/2017

Reynae Langlois & Lauren Fannaly's Letter to the Editor on Criminal Justice Session

For Immediate Release:                                                       3/9/17
Contact:                                                                                 Jeremy Peltier
                                                                                                985-542-7520
                                                                                                ponchyfireman@msn.com

Reynae Langlois & Lauren Fannaly's Letter to the Editor on Criminal Justice Session

Dear Editor,

The Leadership Tangipahoa 2017 class focused on the Criminal Justice System of our parish in February. We started the day by meeting at the Tangipahoa Tourist Commission, boarded a Tangipahoa Public Transit bus, and headed north on I-55 to the Tangipahoa Parish Communications District #1 or 9-1-1 Center in Amite. We were greeted by the Director, Mr. Dennis Darouse. He started off with the background of the organization and its day-to-day operations. Established in 2005, the non-profit organization is governed by a seven-member board completely separate of parish government.  Their revenue is generated by a monthly 9-1-1 sur charge on residential, business, fax, and cellular phone lines.  Last year the facility answered 122,000 emergency calls are taken by 3 daytime employees and 4-nighttime employees.  They are a unique 9-1-1 area due to being the only single "Public Safety Answering Point" (PSAP) not only for our parish, but also for neighboring parish St. Helena.  Additionally, they manage addressing for all the rural area and some municipalities, such as Tickfaw, Independence, Roseland, and Tangipahoa, and assisting developers with naming developments.  While touring, we experienced an emergency call. The operator was calm as she gleaned information from the caller, and then dispatched help to the victim by the appropriate emergency responders.  She continued taking notes and following up after the call to ensure the victim had all the resources that were needed. Did you know that valuable and lifesaving information can be registered with "SMART911"?  This free service available in our parish, provides valuable and time saving information about yourself, family members, your home, pets, and even vehicles to 9-1-1 when you make an emergency call. "Smart911" is private, secure, and provided free to citizens by Tangipahoa 911. Sign up today at www.smart911.com  or  www.tangi911.org!

Our second stop, the Tangipahoa Parish Jail was located near the 9-1-1 office.  Lieutenant Finn, the Assistant Warden, walked us through the facility and explained the operations and challenges of a correctional facility. The jail was built in 1984 with a maximum capacity of 504 men and 22 women; federal, state, and parish inmates. Majority of the prisoners held at the jail are parish detainees awaiting court appearances. Our jail is at maximum capacity. One way of dealing with "overflow" offenders is by sending them to another facility costing constituents three times more than a prisoner housed in the parish facility. It was astounding to see how outdated the facility was and the dangers caused for deputies and inmates because of the lack of housing and innovation.  We found the "No Gun Allowed on Property" policy to be very interesting. The officers on duty carry mace guns.     

We broke out and headed to our third destination, Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center in Robert. District Attorney, Scott Perrilloux and City Court Judge Grace Gasaway shared the roles they play in the court system. Mr. Perrilloux introduced himself as the 21st Judicial District Attorney for Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa. They handle criminal offenses such as traffic, drug, and property crimes and homicide or any violations of the law. He has seventeen prosecutors under the 21st Judicial System that are assigned around 225-275 cases a year.  City Court Judge Grace Gasaway's jurisdiction is 7th ward, which is the cities of Hammond and Ponchatoula. Looking at it from a geographical perspective, the areas from Southeastern Louisiana University campus to Manchac and the Tangipahoa River to the Livingston parish line. This also includes all incorporated areas. In city court, she presides over different divisions such as traffic, civil, small claims, truancy, criminal and misdemeanors for juveniles and adults.

Jodie Rohner, is a former leadership member and, is now, the Executive Director of Tangipahoa Parish Crime Stoppers. She shared the population increased after Hurricane Katrina, and as a result, an increase in crime. The organization is a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit organization with a board of directors. Encouraging community involvement and encouraging work with law enforcement has been behind the success of this organization. Important resources for Crime Stoppers are billboards, newspapers, social media, and their tip line (800-554-1245).  Recently, an app (P3 by Anderson Software) was added to aid you in reporting crime in your area.

Director of Operations Russell Sanders at the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center, said the center provides a safe and restricted environment for juveniles requiring secure residential detention until they are adjudicated and sentenced by the Court. The center provides troubled children ages 10-18 the opportunity to change their lives. It is a structured environment that strives on success and positive reinforcement. The center provides not only meals and schooling, but medical, dental, and counseling services.  This facility may be a more constructive environment than the home in which they live.

Meanwhile, heading to our final destination of the day, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office which is housed in the substation located on West Club Deluxe Road in Hammond.  Chief Financial Officer, Tonilyn Guidry, CPA explained the multiple services that the TPSO had to offer such as Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigation, Communications, Assessor Department, K-9 Unit, Special Response Team, state of the art Mobile Crime Unit, Support, and Prison services. These support services include Reserves, Community Services, Criminal Records, Court Security, and Victim Services. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office generates funds and what expenditures they have. 

While at the Sheriff's Office, Staff Sergeant Tommy Ferrand and his partner, Mako a K-9 officer, demonstrated how an assailant is taken down by a canine.  The relationship and training that the deputy and his canine experience is extensive. SSgt Ferrand and Mako were instrumental in capturing the men who escaped the parish jail a few weeks ago.

After having toured, observed, and learned about how our Criminal Justice System works, we are thankful for the services of the Tangipahoa Parish Justice system. We thank all of those who took time to educate and guide us and our Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2017.  This was a truly eye-opening journey of those who "Protect and Serve" us stretching resources and hoping to make a difference in the lives of those in the system. May God bless all of men and women in uniform and those who serve and protect us!  

Sincerely,

Reynae Langlois
Office of Community Development
Executive Assistant of Tangipahoa Parish

Lauren Fannaly, LMT
President of the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce 2015-2017
Owner of Balance Massage and Bodywork