As my second term as your president nears an end, I’ve been reflecting back on the last four years.
I must say, I have enjoyed and hold some very fond memories of my time representing you, the members of our organization. Our mission to educate the public about who we are and what we do is very important to our success. I am very proud of our many accomplishments. I think about the many families we have assisted with the Thanksgiving baskets. I reflect on the smiling faces of thousands of senior citizens we have celebrated Christmas with each year.
Over the last few months, I have been burdened by the negative tone of the District Attorney’s race. Unfortunately, one particular camp decided to question our integrity and challenge our dedication to serving our parish fairly and honestly.
After viewing a cartoon that targeted our agency, specifically mocking you the men and women who are on the front lines every day, I realized that candidate either does not know about our accomplishments or choose to ignore the integrity and dedication we serve with every day.
I realized that candidate did not go with us in the middle of the night to deliver death notifications to our members or their families. He has not stood at our Memorial service each May and watched as I present scholarships in honor of our fallen Deputies, fighting the tears of emotion as I look upon their families who attend in honor.
I realized he does not know. But more concerning, he has chosen not to know. He formed an opinion and drew a firm line as to where we stood in his view. Maybe this is an opinion that was guided by the instruction he’s getting from his close advisors.
Attached you will find a letter to all of us from Sheriff Strain. No matter what, I could not have said it better. Please take the time to read the Sheriff’s letter and share it with your family and friends.
Mr. Montgomery, if you’re reading this, please know that there are many in law enforcement in this parish who want you to know that this is not how a district attorney acts.
Thank you for allowing me to serve and represent you. And no matter what he says or what mudslinging he does, hold your head up and continue to do your job with the integrity that you always have.
Joe Jarrell, President
St. Tammany Parish Deputies Association
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The votes have been tallied and I am happy to tell you that Tuesday was a very good day for law enforcement in St. Tammany Parish.
Obviously, Chief Trainor’s first place primary finish sent a strong message that our parish’s residents want a pro-law enforcement District Attorney who is an experienced prosecutor, not a criminal defense attorney whose campaign was centered on vilifying the Sheriff’s office.
Our criminal justice system is a serious matter, deserving of thoughtful, intelligent debate. Mr. Montgomery’s answer to that was to produce a cartoon calling us pigs and referring to our agency as “Rottingham.” That might bring a chuckle to those who don’t grasp the importance of this election, but I find it shamefully childish, personally offensive and a direct insult to the incredible work each of you do every day to keep our residents safe.
Many other candidates with direct ties to the Sheriff’s office were in races throughout St. Tammany as well. Every single one of them was elected! There is no question about it – our residents understand and appreciate the hard, dangerous job you do and they trust that your proven leadership will keep our parish safe and prosperous. As we head into the run off for the District Attorney’s race, I ask that you keep in mind the differences between the two candidates. Remember how one candidate disparages the work you do, and how another prides himself on having been a part of it. Remember how one ridicules our agency, and how another has worn our badge with the same sense of honor that you hold so dear. Remember how one mocks our entire judicial system, while the other knows it is the very foundation of our security.
You will have many opportunities in the coming weeks to share your opinions – not only with colleagues, but with private citizens as well. Let them know how hard our agency works to serve them. Let them know that we hold ourselves to exceptionally high professional standards. And let them know that this election is no laughing matter.