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WILDLIFE WATCH 2017

No matter where you are in St. Mary, you’re never too far away from nature. When it comes to our culture and lifestyle, we take pride in that fact. But, when nature presents itself by way of alligators and snakes in our school yards, shopping center parking lots, and homes it can be unnerving. Considering recent news reports and community talk about incidents involving wildlife, we thought we’d share what we’re seeing in the areas patrolled by the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office.

March and April are typically peak months for alligator complaints. Last year from January to this time in April deputies had responded to 9 reports of alligators sighted in areas where they were not supposed to be. But so far this year, among the 106 total animal related complaints, the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office has responded to 3 reports of alligators. 2 of the animals were removed and returned to their habitat by patrol deputies. Another, spotted in a yard, was estimated to be around 12 feet. Wildlife and Fisheries was contacted. Although alligator complaints are down, what we have noted are 6 complaints of snakes in residences and yards across the parish. In most of the incidents, the snake was removed by patrol deputies and returned to the wild.  

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St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Shooting Range, Centerville, LA 4/28/17

Understanding snake behavior is the first step in keeping the unwelcomed guests out of your home. The frequently asked questions below are from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries web page, which is linked here. The LDWF website also lists the different types of snakes found in Louisiana. Of course, we caution residents from approaching wildlife and kids should be taught the potential dangers of encountering wild animals.

Is there any way to keep snakes out of a house or yard?  The best method of reducing or eliminating snake numbers around yards is to remove cover: mow grass and vegetation, and remove trash, lumber and brick piles. Most snakes that enter houses are of non-venomous varieties: rat snakes, brown snakes, etc. Entrance seems most often to be gained through open doors or holes leading from the foundation or crawlspace. Holes cut in washrooms and beneath sinks for pipes are often big enough to allow entry by snakes. Rat snakes are excellent climbers and can get into attics and chimneys. Eliminating access points for snakes is the best prevention. Snake-proofing yards would be difficult and expensive. Snakes can burrow and climb, so that fencing would need to be sunk 1-2 feet into the ground, and be tall and slick enough to prevent snakes from climbing. Fortunately, Louisiana's venomous snakes rarely climb. See also the section on Control of Snakes. 

How do I keep snakes out of my house? Most snakes that enter houses are of non-venomous varieties: rat snakes, brown snakes, etc. Entrance seems most often to be gained through open doors or holes leading from the foundation or crawlspace. Holes cut in washrooms and beneath sinks for pipes are often big enough to allow entry by snakes. Rat snakes are excellent climbers and can get into attics and chimneys, as well as into walls via gaps in exterior siding. Small snakes are sometimes brought indoors by pets. Eliminating access points for snakes is the best prevention.

How do I remove a snake that is in my house or car?  Snakes are experts at hiding themselves, and once inside of a home can be nearly impossible to locate. They will tend to remain concealed during the day, or when there is activity in the house. They may leave cover only when the lights are out and human activity stops for the night. At that point, they may be discovered in the open by quickly going through the house and turning on lights. Snakes that are seen to crawl into the underside of a vehicle are usually excluded from entering the passenger compartment. Snakes can usually be driven out from the undercarriage of a vehicle by parking it in direct sunlight for several hours.

 

Traci Landry

Detective Lieutenant

St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office

Public Information Office

985-354-0714

pio@stmaryso.com                                      

 


Sheriffs’ Scholarship Available to St. Mary Parish Students

As a member of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association (LSA), Sheriff Mark Hebert offers the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Scholarship Program to students in St. Mary Parish. The LSA scholarship aids worthy Louisiana students in furthering their education and training with resources made available through the Louisiana Sheriffs' Honorary Membership Program.  

One scholarship in the amount of $500 will be awarded to a graduating high school student from St. Mary Parish. There are no restrictions on the purposes for which the scholarship is spent. The scholarship is not a loan and is awarded as a gift to defray the costs of tuition and related expenses for higher education. The only limitations are that applicants be permanent residents of Louisiana; that the scholarship be utilized in higher education within the state of Louisiana; and that the student be enrolled as a full-time, undergraduate student. 

Applicants must be eligible for admission to the school indicated on the application. The award will only be paid for attendance at institutions of higher learning within the state. The scholarship winner will be announced by May 1, 2017. Completed applications must be submitted to the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office by April 1, 2017.  

Applications may be obtained from either of the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Offices, on the 4th floor of the parish courthouse at 500 Main Street in Franklin or 1455 Railroad Avenue in Morgan City. Applications may also be printed online by going to www.lsa.org. Completed applications should be dropped off at the Sheriff’s Office or mailed to P.O. Box 571 Franklin, LA 70538. For more information regarding the Sheriff's Scholarship Program, contact Public Information Officer Traci Landry at 985-354-0714 or pio@stmaryso.com.

 

 

Contact Information:

Traci Landry

Detective Lieutenant

St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office

Public Information Office

985-354-0714

pio@stmaryso.com

www.stmaryso.com     

 


Our Top Cops

 

The St. Mary Parish chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently honored law enforcement officers for their work in keeping the roads and highways of St. Mary Parish safe. Sgt Taurean Smith and Deputy Aprylle Bobbitt were presented with the TOP COP award for the Sheriff’s Office. Over the last year, Smith made 9 arrests on the charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Dty Bobbitt made 5 arrests. Overall, Sheriff’s Office deputies took a total of 46 suspected drunk drivers off the road. 41 were 1st offenses, 4 were arrested for 2nd offenses, and 1 was arrested for 3rd offense drunk driving. Through law enforcement efforts and the work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, convicted offenders are shown the long term effects of impaired driving with the goal of changing their behavior and preventing future offenses. Sheriff Mark Hebert says, “These arrests represent lives saved. I commend Sgt Smith and Dty Bobbitt for their outstanding effort to keep our roadways safe.” The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office joined Louisiana State Police, Chitimacha Tribal Police Department, Morgan City, Patterson, Berwick, Franklin, and Baldwin Police Departments at the Berwick Civic Center for the ceremony held Monday evening, December 5, 2016.

 

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Below from left to right are Parish President David Hannagriff, Captain Sennet Wiggins, Sergeant Taurean Smith, Deputy Aprylle Bobbitt, Detective Whytley Jones, and Chief Deputy Scott Anslum 

 

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The K-9 Life

 

“We need a K-9.” I can’t remember who blurted it out, but everyone agreed. And if there was another way to keep drugs out of our kids’ hands, I was all in.

With that one discussion, my life changed.

The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office has not had a K-9 program for many years. But, Sheriff Mark Hebert knew the value in getting one. The Sheriff’s Office applied for and was awarded a grant that would fund a new K-9 team. I remember the day the letter for the spot came out. I’ve always wanted to do more. I got on the computer and began to research what it took to be a K-9 handler. I needed to know what it would take to be an extraordinary K-9 handler.     

The research blew my mind. I knew it would be hard work. I wasn’t worried about that. But it would also take support from the department and from my family. I learned that my family would have to endure a lot for me to be the K-9 handler I wanted to be. With my wife’s blessing and full support, I applied for the position and got the spot.

The next few weeks dragged by as my supervisor, Major John Kahl, went to K9 Concepts in Broussard, LA and selected the K-9 that would become part of the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office. Major Kahl showed me a video of him. His name was Buddy. He was a single purpose (narcotics only) K-9.

Before I knew it, I was off to K-9 school. I trained at K9 Concepts for two weeks. I found out that being a K-9 handler involved way more than what the internet said. I had to learn Dutch and I had to learn how to read my dog. I can tell you it was harder than it looked. But I knew then that I had found my calling.

After becoming a certified K-9 handler in January 2016, I was ready to hit the road. As a narcotics K-9, Buddy was certified to locate a variety of illegal drugs. I also began training with the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office and Houma Police Department. I found that those guys also loved the K-9 world. After a few months of work, I saw even more potential in Buddy. He could be a patrol K-9.

The work began all over again. I went back to K9 Concepts for three weeks of training and then trained for two more weeks with the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office to get Buddy ready to certify. We had to learn so much more: searching buildings, tracking suspects, handler protection, and more Dutch!

Certification day came and Buddy passed. But the work continues. We train each week with the other agencies’ K-9 Units. On some days, we have as many as 13 K-9’s. By combining the training, our K-9 Units have the opportunity to work in different locations. We train in swimming pools, schools, and even the Mr. Charlie Rig so our law enforcement K-9’s are comfortable in any situation they may be deployed to.

Having the K-9 has benefitted the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office, the community, and me in many ways. Having Buddy has given us another way to help keep our parish safe and he’s given me the motivation to be a better deputy. Buddy loves his job. I can’t tell you in words how happy he is to get in the unit to go to work every day. Be sure to say hi when you see us out and always remember that we are here for you.                      

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Detective Christopher Crappell

St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office

K-9 Section                                                                                      

 


Louisiana Deputy Sheriff Assistance Fund

 

The Louisiana Deputy Sheriff Assistance Fund provides financial relief and assistance to eligible deputies of any Louisiana Sheriff and their eligible dependents that have been impacted by a Qualified Disaster. You can help them by donating at the link below.

http://www.employees1st.org/sheriffs


 
 
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