A new sheriff will take office next Tuesday in St. Mary Parish.
Blaise Smith beat incumbent sheriff Scott Anslum in a special election Saturday, with 52 percent of the vote.
Smith has more than 40 years in law enforcement experience, several of those years as Chitimacha Police Chief. He’s now getting a jump start on his new job.
Monday afternoon, Smith was getting to know his staff and his new office before being sworn in next week. Smith says he has a number of changes in mind among them, securing the parish jail.
“They’ve had issues with 5 people escaping from the jail,” Smith said. “There’s some security problems and I’m looking forward to that challenge. We’re looking at closing the gate and putting a building out in the front, where someone is out there checking people as they come in and out. Right now it’s wide open and anybody can drive thru there like they want to.”
Smith also wants to increase patrols.
“The goal is to have 7 people on each shift and a supervisor,” Smith said. “Visibility is very important not just to the residents, but the criminal. If they see around they move. so we have some areas that we’re targeting to have more patrol in.”
Smith says he will run for re-election in next fall’s regular elections. He says he hopes to gain the citizens’ trust by then.
“By the time November comes around I’m sure people in St. Mary Parish will see that we’re moving forward,” Smith said.