Sep 29, 2011 11:39 PM by Maddie Garrett
The Milton Civic Center hosted a "Meet the Candidate" forum Thursday night. Candidates for Division M Family Court Judget, Kay Gautreaux, Marshall Montgomery and Susan Theall attended, as well as candidates for City-Parish Council District 8, Keith Patin (I) and Craig Spikes, and District 9, William Theriot (I) and Walter Campbell.
And one of the bigger races at the forum was for Lafayette Parish Sheriff, and Sheriff Mike Neustrom (I) and his opponent Richard "Rick" Chargois were there.
Neustrom has served as Lafayette Parish Sheriff for 12 years, and said his work isn't finished yet.
"We've started a lot of programs, we've built the department up. We've received the Triple Crown, which is possessed by only 39 sheriff's offices out of 3,000. So we've made some progress but we're not there yet, we want to continue making progress," said Neustrom.
Chargois also has extensive experience in law enforcement serving at Louisiana State Police for 25 years as a trooper/deputy commander and head of various departments, including Bureau of Investigations.
"And I've watch the sheriff's office through all those years. I've had to work with them and I've had to be out in the public and work with other sheriff's offices work and I think I can do a good job. I think I can bring a different direction to the department and provide better public safety and support," said Chargois.
During the forum, Chargois said he would like to work more with local law enforcement agencies and State Police in cracking down on drugs.
As for the jail, Neustrom said it's important to keep violent criminals incarcerated and rehabilitate others to keep them out of jail.
"I think we need to be prepared to manage people as they come back into the community. And I think we're prepared now. The programs we've started over the past 12 years are designed to monitor people in the community which is cheaper than locking people up," explained Neustrom.
Chargois sai he'd like to make jail more efficient.
"I think we need to go through that place with a fine tooth comb and see what we can do to reduce the problems and get more people in there," said Chargois.
So will Neustrom get a fourth term in office, or will there be a new sheriff in town? We'll have those results on election day, October 22, 2011.
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