THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE WILL REOPEN FRIDAY MORNING, AUGUST 31, FOR NORMAL WORKING HOURS FOR PHASE 1 AND PHASE 2 EMPLOYEES. THOSE EMPLOYEES WANTING TO TAKE ANNUAL LEAVE TIME FRIDAY MAY DO SO, BUT MUST OBTAIN PRIOR APPROVAL FROM THEIR SUPERVISOR.
Archive for August, 2012
This morning, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office is actively responding to residents’ requests to be removed from homes in areas throughout southeastern St. Tammany.
Approximately 30 deputies, in addition to dozens of Wildlife and Fisheries agents and members of the Louisiana National Guard, are canvassing the areas of Bayou Liberty, Lake Road (in Lacombe), Lakeshore Estates, Eden Isles and the Carr Drive area. While these are the areas of concentration, any resident in distress will be assisted if they call for help leaving their home.
The operation is supported by nearly 20 watercraft and several high water vehicles.
As residents request to be removed from their homes, they are taken onto the boats or high water vehicles and taken to one of several spots where they are picked up and transported to a shelter in Pearl River.
Any resident with water approaching their home and who is unable to get out by themselves should call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.
The deputies working this effort are in addition to our regular patrol operations, currently manned in eastern St. Tammany by an additional 30 on-duty deputies.
The major challenges facing the Sheriff’s Office at this time are downed trees, downed power lines, and street flooding.
Deputies have documented nearly 100 trees falling across roadways or on power lines throughout the parish. As reported by the utility companies, tens of thousands of people in St. Tammany remain without power. The Sheriff’s Office is now receiving calls from residents whose homes are surrounded by water, and rescue operations are underway in several of those areas.
Stop signs and traffic lights have been blown down or are out of service throughout the parish. Residents who absolutely must be on the road are urged to proceed through intersections with extreme caution. Numerous roadways throughout the parish are now impassable due to flooding. Residents are urged to stay off the roads unless it is absolutely necessary.
Deputies with the Marine division rescued a man and his dog from a bayou near Hwy. 90 in the Slidell area this morning. The man was in a kayak attempting to travel from his home to his truck, which was parked on the highway. The man called 911 when the wind toppled his kayak. Deputies responded to the area, tied a rope to their vehicles, and swam into the bayou to bring the man (and his dog) to safety.
Marine division deputies have also had to secure numerous water craft on the Tchefuncte River. The boats had not been properly secured prior to the storm and were drifting toward other boats and property.
THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE WILL REOPEN FRIDAY MORNING, AUGUST 31, FOR NORMAL WORKING HOURS FOR PHASE 1 AND PHASE 2 EMPLOYEES. THOSE EMPLOYEES WANTING TO TAKE ANNUAL LEAVE TIME FRIDAY MAY DO SO, BUT MUST OBTAIN APPROVAL FROM THEIR SUPERVISOR FIRST.
THE BELOW APPLIES TO PHASE I PERSONNEL REGULARLY SCHEDULED TO WORK WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29.
Unless otherwise directed, the following procedure should be used tomorrow morning (Wednesday) prior to the beginning of your scheduled shift to determine whether conditions are appropriate to report to your regular duty station.
District II personnel:
Call 985-867-0575 or 504 520-0777, or the main training number 863-6500. You can also contact the radio room on the SOD channel.
District III and IV personnel:
Call 898-2338 or contact the radio room on the District 3 NCIC channel.
The two suspects previously sought by deputies are now in custody. Jerrett Pittman, who investigators have determined was also involved in the actual looting, has been brought back to the Sheriff’s Office Slidell complex and arrested for looting as well. Three arrests total, as follows:
Jerrett Pittman – 248 Deanna Dr, Slidell – DOB: 9/21/1994
Cody Page – 401 Rustling Pine, Slidell – DOB: 5/20/1990
Ryan Dussor – 326 Oriole Dr, Slidell – DOB: 11/18/1991
All three will be booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail with three counts of L.R.S. 14:62.5 – Looting.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Slidell area man and is looking for two others in connection with the looting of multiple watercrafts docked in the area of Lakeshore Estates.
Last night, several area residents relocated their boats to that area in an effort to protect the vessels from the storm. Early this morning, one of those boat’s owner checked on his boat and discovered it had been broken into. He immediately called the Sheriff’s Office and reported the incident.
Deputies responded to the scene this morning and began an investigation. A short time later, a Sheriff’s detective questioned a man staying on a nearby boat. During questioning, the man admitted he witnessed a friend of his and another man take property early this morning from three nearby boats and place the property on his boat. The property was recovered and has since been returned to its rightful owners.
The stolen property has an estimated value in the thousands of dollars.
The man on the boat (Jerrett Pittman – 248 Deanna Dr, Slidell – DOB: 9/21/1994) was arrested and released on summons for L.R.S. 14:69 – Illegal Possession of Stolen Things.
Deputies are still looking for the two men who reportedly committed the looting. When located, they will be arrested and booked with L.R.S. 14:62.5 – Looting.
Sheriff Strain issued a strong warning to anyone considering taking advantage of others during this time. “We will absolutely not tolerate anyone preying on others during this time of disaster. If someone loots a business or home in St. Tammany Parish, the full force of this Sheriff’s office will be dedicated to finding them, putting them in jail, and making sure they are charged to the full extent of the law,” Sheriff Strain said.
Looting during a declared state of emergency carries a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 and imprisonment of not less than three years nor more than 15 years at hard labor, without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
As of 9:00 AM this morning, calls into the Sheriff’s office have been very light. One call from the Mandeville area reported a fallen tree which downed a transformer. That call was transferred to the Emergency Operations Center for referral to the appropriate public utility services.
Road traffic has been extremely light on both sides of the parish. Motorists are urged to continue to stay off the roadways unless absolutely necessary.
It is evident that St. Tammany residents have prepared very well for this storm and those who remain in the parish appear to be staying indoors as recommended.
The Sheriff’s office remains prepared for any needs caused by this storm. All available personnel, including those from investigations and all special operations divisions, have been consolidated into criminal patrol and their presence on the street will remain throughout the storm.
In addition, all Sheriff’s Office high-water vehicles and water rescue assets, including all boats and amphibious vehicles, have been staged throughout the parish. Deputies are prepared to safely remove any resident who is in danger in a flooded area.
Any law enforcement or storm related emergencies should be directed to 9-1-1. Call takers there are able to direct any need for public services to the appropriate personnel at the Emergency Operations Center (fire, ems, public utilities, etc.).
The Sheriff’s Office will issue further updates as the day progresses.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office will have every available deputy patrolling streets and neighborhoods throughout St. Tammany, beginning at 6:00 AM tomorrow, Sheriff Jack Strain announced today.
Regular criminal patrol shifts will be doubled during and immediately after Isaac. All detectives with the Criminal Investigations division will be placed with patrol deputies. In addition, all personnel from the Marine, Street Crimes, Traffic, Narcotics and K-9 divisions will be on 24 hour patrol. The entire Reserve division has been activated, augmenting our on-street presence with an additional 80 deputies.
The Sheriff’s Office has readied all its high-water equipment, including trucks and special amphibious vehicles in the event water rescues become necessary.
Residents in low-lying areas are urged to evacuate to higher shelter; however, if they become trapped by rising flood waters they should call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.
A sinking boat in Lake Pontchartrain sent nine people into the water late Saturday night. The incident occurred nearly nine miles south of the Mandeville lakefront.
At approximately 11:15 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting that a boat in Lake Pontchartrain was submerged and all nine people on board were in the water. Deputies from the Marine Division of the Sheriff’s Office rushed to the scene with three boats along with the Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
Deputies arrived on scene and found the nine boaters floating in the water along a partially submerged boat. All persons were pulled from the water uninjured. The families were notified and met deputies at Mandeville Harbor to pick up their loved ones. The cause for the sinking was not known at the time of the incident and Wildlife and Fisheries was notified of the incident.
Brothers and Sisters:
Yesterday morning we all awoke to the tragic news of the St. John Parish Deputies that had been killed and injured earlier that morning. Many of you may not know, but we immediately started resources and supplies in that direction. Our very own Sheriff went and met with Sheriff Tregre to offer his support. Not many Sheriffs have had to walk in their shoes and bury multiple deputies in a few short days. As the news continued to spread, the brothers and sisters who represent that blue line did the same thing we did. Not knowing what to do or how we could help, we just felt compelled to respond. As an agency, we just felt the need to help.
As the morning grew, we learned that two very young Deputies had lost their lives. We also learned that two more were fighting for theirs in area hospitals. As I made my rounds through the offices, many of us tried our very best to get our work done, but at the same time stop to watch the TV for any updates or news releases that might answer our questions of how and why.
Many of you might think that yesterday was just another day for us. Though you might not have realized it, I can assure you our anxiety and nervousness was a tragic reminder of our very own agency just a few short years ago.
It is in these difficult times we find our own inner strength. We also learn how very fragile life can be. During my 30 plus years as a Law Enforcement Officer, I have seen many times the tragic aftermath of those horrible wake up calls. Sadly, I have received too many of those calls since 2007. All day yesterday I thought about where I was when Hilary and Beau were killed. I thought over and over of the grief I felt for Sharon, Jack Tanner’s wife, and the family of Paul Becnel. I am reminded of something our Sheriff once said: “You will never get over it, you will only learn to live with it.”
Last night, as I pulled into my driveway, I realized how we take life for granted. My dog ran up to my car, my wife and son pulled into the driveway behind me and, as a family, we all went inside taking for granted that we would eat supper with each other again.
It is during these times you will have to learn to draw on your faith. The same faith that we hope and pray will get our brothers and sisters in St. John through this difficult time. My 12 year old son does not realize why my eyes became teary when I hugged him yesterday afternoon. My wife thinks she does, but she really doesn’t. Make sure sometime today you call a love one, someone you have not spoken to in a few days. Let them know you thought about them as you read this letter. Tell them you do love them, even if there has been a quarrel or strife in the past. Most importantly, each morning before you leave your house, take the time to hug each neck and tell them how much you love them. Make sure they have no doubt where they stand in your life. In this sometimes evil world, tomorrow is not promised to any one of us.
I have chosen to draw my strength through scripture. In John 15:13, it tells us that we are to love each other as Jesus loved us, and he loved us enough to give his life for us. We may not have to die for someone, but there are other ways to practice sacrificial love: listening, helping, encouraging, giving. Think of someone in particular who needs this kind of love today. Give all the love you can and then try to give a little more.
The true test of faith comes when trusting that faith is the only thing that will get you through the burden in front of you. It is by God’s grace that we have all made it to work today. It will be by God’s grace that we all make it home tonight. But it will be our choice as to what we do with each of these days with which He has chosen to bless us.
The Deputies Association will be offering assistance to the members of the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office. We have chosen to wait until after the funerals when the media has left along with those who initially came to help. From our very own experience we learned it was during that time – those few days after the funerals when everyone left and all the food was eaten – that people expected us just to flip a switch and go back to work and be normal again. That is when we have chosen to be there.
Thank all of you who support the Deputies Association. It is in these times of giving that you should all be proud of your contributions to such noble cause.
Maj. Joe Jarrell
President, St. Tammany Deputies Association