St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said while his office considered a request from the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office to send officers to assist with Mardi Gras details, there will be no SCPSO officers working in New Orleans.
“We polled all of our enforcement personnel and very few expressed interest in going to the city and working what is the equivalent of off-duty details,” Champagne said. “I don’t believe it would have been appropriate to ‘force’ our deputies to go work in the city. Another reason for the lack of interest is that our deputies have a fair number of off-duty details to work here in the parish. Many times, we have difficulty filling them as a result.”
Champagne said his office simply doesn’t have very many deputies to spare for Mardi Gras.
“Also, we have two Mardi Gras parades in St. Charles Parish on the weekend before Mardi Gras and utilize all our available off-duty deputies to work these two events,” he said. “Keep in mind our regular patrol and corrections shifts must be manned as usual.”
The request from NOPD was a first-time question.
“We were never asked before to assist the NOPD in primary law enforcement functions or off-duty work,” Champagne said.
While the SCPSO is always looking for qualified individuals to become deputy sheriffs, Champagne said, the department is adequately staffed and the decline in invitation from the NOPD is not due to a current staff shortage.
“Like all agencies, we must stay ahead of recruiting. It takes anywhere from a year to two years before a new recruit is trained sufficiently to be able to take to the streets as a trained law enforcement officer,” he said. “Recruitment is an issue for every agency, especially in light of the anti-police sentiment that has swept across the country in the last several years. Unfortunately, many cities are experiencing significant increases in crime as a result of understaffed agencies.”
Media outlets have reported that sheriff’s offices in St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and East Baton Rouge Parishes also declined to work the NOPD parade details.