Sheriff’s Office sets ‘high standards’ for graduates

July 17, 2008 at 9:07 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

There are very few professions where any single individual can have a dramatic impact on the lives of everyone around them. Thirty St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, who graduated from the police academy last month, will now have that opportunity.

“The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office has established significantly higher standards than those mandated by state law,” Sheriff Greg Champagne, who heads the Sheriff’s Office, said. “In addition to being at least 18 and having a high school education, we require that a deputy be completely P.O.S.T. certified prior to going on patrol or any other enforcement division other than the jail.”

P.O.S.T.  (Police Officer Standard Training) is specialized training that consists of at least 17 weeks of attendance at a state-certified police training academy. 

Champagne says his office is able to train officers a lot faster today then they were able to in the past.
“We are able to train deputies a lot quicker since we have our own academy now,” he says. “Before, we had to struggle to find space in other academies and were at their mercy.”
Champagne points out that required training and education have increased drastically in the last 30 years. 

“Prior to 1974, no formal academy training was required,” he said. “While not required by law, the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office mandates 80 hours of mandatory in-service training each year, which consists of courses updating their prior knowledge.”

Before a deputy can be considered for employment, he or she must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, and all patrol deputies must complete 160 hours of training within one year of being hired.

 “They must have a clean criminal record with no felony convictions,” he said. “If the applicant has a misdemeanor or traffic convictions, these are evaluated on a case by case basis.”

Champagne has this advice for potential candidates.
“I would advise these men and women to first consider attending college and obtaining either an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice,” he said. “Such a degree would greatly enhance their value to any law enforcement agency.” For those applicants that don’t want to attend a university, the Sheriff’s Office still accepts the application.

“Our pre-employment screening process takes about three months,” he said.
Champagne says a thorough background investigation is done on each applicant, including review and contact with references, former neighbors and family members to determine if the applicant is of good moral character.

Champagne was sworn in, once again, as sheriff  on June 26. This was the first time in 57 years that a sheriff served four consecutive terms in office.
His first official duty was to swear in his staff of deputies and administrators immediately following his inauguration at the VFW Hall in Luling.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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