Plan


Summary of

Chad Leger Transition Plan


August 26, 2015


For More Information Contact


Carolina McRae

carolina@chadleger.org

(337) 739-9073.


*****


August 26, 2015

Dear Friend,


It is important that the new Sheriff hit the ground running and fully utilize the 7-months between certification of the election results by the Secretary of State and being sworn in to the office.


Over the last year, I’ve listened to hundreds of law enforcement personnel in agencies across Lafayette Parish, including the LPSO. I’ve also listened to key stakeholders who interface with the Sheriff’s office. I am now embarking on a more formal process of information gathering.


With Sheriff Neustrom’s retirement after 15 years, Lafayette Parish will soon have a new Sheriff.


Key members of the Sheriff’s command staff are also at or nearing retirement age, so change will be coming to the department sooner, rather than later, no matter who is elected.


I have 26 years of experience working with and for the LPSO. My department works with the LPSO daily -- as a cooperating agency and as a “client” for correctional services. Based on that experience, I have developed a transition plan that reflects my priorities.


In brief, my plan revolves around three core transition priorities:


  • Personnel Strategy. A succession plan and transition strategy for key personnel.  We need the right people in the right positions. A preliminary analysis of current staffing levels will be undertaken. We also need proper staffing of shifts, particularly in patrol, investigations, SWAT and corrections. Understaffing in the field can lead to dangerous situations for the public and law enforcement officers.


  • Correctional Crisis. Steps to address serious problems at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center. Our jail must be safe and secure. We are responsible for the safety and health of inmates in our custody. We also have responsibility for the safety of our correctional officers when they are on the job.


  • Alternatives to Incarceration. Aggressively seek opportunities to expand and enhance alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, where lawful and appropriate.


I look forward to sharing more about my plans in the coming weeks. Please contact my campaign at (337) 739-0973 or email Carolina McRae: carolina@chadleger.org if you have any questions.


I look forward to the opportunity of serving you, and all of Lafayette Parish, as Sheriff.


Sincerely,

chad leger signature.jpg

Chad Leger


*****

Safe in Our Homes. Safe on Our Roads.


The function of law enforcement is to maintain civil order. To keep us safe from those who harm others, whether intentionally or through criminal negligence. That responsibility involves an array of components that require hard work and diligent attention to standards, policies, processes and procedures,  and measures of operational success. Every element in the law enforcement chain is important. Preventing crime, deterring crime, interrupting crimes in progress, investigating crime and operating an efficient and effective correctional system are all critical pieces of the puzzle.  


Personnel and Staffing Review


With the retirement of Sheriff Mike Neustrom, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is in the midst of an important leadership transition. This is a critical opportunity to develop the next generation of leaders in the LPSO to lead the department for the next decade.


A full personnel review focused on a succession plan and transition strategy will be my first task as Sheriff-Elect.  There are many hardworking, qualified and dedicated people in the LPSO who are quality candidates for taking on greater roles and responsibility.  I already know and have worked with many of the good people in the LPSO and other law enforcement agencies in our parish.


Parallel with the personnel review is a staffing review to determine optimum levels of staffing in key divisions and to assess future needs. It is critical that our investigative division, patrols, narcotics and corrections are properly staffed. Understaffing is dangerous to both the public and to law enforcement officers.


Correctional Issues


In addition to being seriously overcrowded, the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center is in crisis.


We have recently seen clear manifestations of the problem with a rash of incidents at the jail. Security at the facility is weak  and the safety of both inmates and correctional personnel are at stake.


Cell Integrity. A significant number of cells at the facility have locks that aren’t secure. They can be “popped” by inmates. This creates a dangerous situation at all times, but particularly at night after lockdown. There are cases where inmates have gotten out of their cells at night and done harm to both other prisoners and to correctional personnel. This situation has been an open secret for some time. The parish is responsible for the safety of inmates and personnel. This is an unacceptable situation that needs to be addressed.



Staffing. The risks posed by unsecured cells are compounded by chronic understaffing at the jail. When I worked at the LPCC early in my law enforcement career, each “pod” in the jail was staffed by four (4) officers. Today, each pod is staffed with half as many officers. This situation has been compounded by the transfer of security controls from checkpoints on each floor to a central control room.

Drugs in the Jail. There has been a significant increase in emergency room visits by inmates who have gotten access to “synthetic marijuana” in the jail. These compounds are highly dangerous. People under their influence hallucinate, suffer serious delusions and frequently become violent or self-destructive. The combination of factors -- availability of these substances, poor cell integrity and limited staffing creates the possibility of an epidemic of even more serious incidents.


Administrative Controls. Questions have been raised about the integrity of the administrative controls at the facility. There have been allegations of forgery and altering of documents on a significant scale, reported both internally and in the media. Many of these documents involve care of inmates at the jail. The situation has created tensions and personnel problems between command officers and subordinates. It appears that certain personnel may have been disciplined for the actions of others or for obeying improper or unlawful orders from their superiors. A lawsuit was filed and settled by the LPSO. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.


Medical Unit. My recent tour of the facility revealed unsanitary conditions in the LPCC Medical Unit. There is a stream of water pouring into the unit from upper floors and being gathered in trash cans and buckets on the floor and on desks. This has been the case for some time. It is my understanding that LCG will soon begin work to repair plumbing


throughout the facility. I look forward to working with the new City-Parish President and Council on making this a priority.


All of these issues at LPCC raise meaningful questions of safety, security, liability and accountability.


Alternatives to Incarceration


With the problems at the LPCC, developing alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders takes on even greater urgency. Home confinement and a range of programs for offenders are valuable tools for Judges in determining the best course of action in any specific case. They also provide an array of tools for the District Attorney.


Alternatives to Incarceration, Cont’d.


Alternatives to incarceration are often the best option for first-time, nonviolent offenders. Some of these alternatives are presently limited due to eligibility requirements for participation. I will work with key stakeholders to determine whether adjustments can be made in certain eligibility requirements to allow greater access to these options, when warranted.


I am especially concerned about the treatment of juvenile offenders. I am proud to share that I participated on Sheriff Neustrom’s Committee that developed the “JAC” or Juvenile Assessment Center. I was humbled to have the opportunity to participate and to ask the tough questions needed to ensure that the JAC could be a practical solution for both law enforcement and the young people whose interests it serves. I am committed to programs that not only help juvenile offenders, but that also reach into our schools. We need to reach children as young as middle school to make sure they have the help they need and that they have positive experiences with law enforcement so that they are willing to reach out when they are in difficult circumstances.

Performance Review


After assuming office, a “top to bottom” performance review will be conducted. I plan to jump start that process with a preliminary assessment prior to being sworn in. The assessment will include:


  • Risk and Liability Analysis

  • Administrative Review

  • Staffing Review

  • Fiscal Review

  • Return on Investment (ROI) Analysis

  • Departmental Review

    • Patrol

    • Investigations

    • Corrections

    • Internal Affairs

    • SWAT

    • Diversion Programs


Feedback Mechanism


I have published an online survey for law enforcement and the public to provide information and feedback regarding issues surrounding the LPSO. It is available online, at this link on my website, at chadleger.org.


Summary


I am proud of Sheriff Neustrom and his department. Let me be clear that I am committed to carrying on his work, including the programs that enhance opportunities for offenders to deal with their issues and become productive members of society. At the same time, I am deeply committed to addressing issues related to increasing the safety and security of our parish, through improving law enforcement fundamentals.


I am humbled by the responsibility of serving as Sheriff. I am committed to working hard to ensure that the LPSO becomes an even better law enforcement agency. I was born and raised here in Lafayette Parish and I care deeply about our future. I’ve worked in law enforcement here for 26 years. I know many of the fine people in the LPSO and law enforcement departments in our parish.


I look forward to the opportunity to serve the men and women of the LPSO, and the people of Lafayette Parish, as Sheriff.