ST. MARTINVILLE, La. — This is a two-part story - both parts can be viewed in the wheel lead above.
Sheriff-Elect Becket Breaux has announced several key hires for his command staff, which will take effect at the start of his term on July 1.
“I’ve selected individuals with extensive experience, dedication, training, and a like-minded vision to move our parish forward,” says Breaux. “Sheriff Ronny Theriot has graciously welcomed me and my team to make a seamless transition.”
Harold Jean Batiste, Jr. has been named Chief Deputy. He is a graduate of St. Martinville Senior High and Southern University. Batiste earned an associate degree in law enforcement and a bachelor’s degree in sociology. His award-winning career with the Louisiana State Police spans 29 years, where he gained an extensive narcotics background with training in criminal investigations, leadership, and management.
Darren Dore will continue to serve as Chief Financial Officer. Dore graduated from St. Martinville Senior High School his bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (University of Louisiana). Dore served the City of St. Martinville for nearly 20 years before joining the sheriff’s office in 2004.
Danielle Champagne Guidry will serve as Executive Administrative Assistant. Guidry most recently served as Breaux’s campaign office manager. She is a graduate of Breaux Bridge High School. She attended the University of Louisiana before launching an 11-year career as an accountant.
The current Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for St. Martin Parish, Terry Guidry, will serve as Support Services Division Commander / OHSEP Director. Guidry began his career with the sheriff’s office as a correctional officer in 1992 and rose through the ranks to major. He currently also supervises special services, fleet and maintenance, and the Marine Patrol Division. Guidry also serves as a coroner investigator, holds a Louisiana Emergency Manager Professional certification, and has completed the Governors’ Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Command College.
Retired St. Mary Parish Sheriff, Mark Hebert, will serve as Executive Officer of Administrative Services. He began his career in law enforcement in 1983. He has served as a patrolman, shift supervisor, and a SWAT agent. He also served as warden over the corrections division, where he developed one of the country’s first pilot programs for re-entry and instituted a full-time GED program along with a work release program.
A 22-year veteran of the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ginny Higgins, will continue to serve as Public Affairs Director. She holds a bachelor’s in criminal justice from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (University of Louisiana), and an associate degree in legal secretarial studies from St. Mary’s Dominican College in New Orleans. Higgins holds various certifications in domestic violence, crisis intervention and negotiation. She is a graduate of the P.O.S.T. Academy, P.O.S.T. Juvenile Officer Academy, and of the National Victim Assistance Academy. She has served as an elderly services officer and as a school resource officer. She is also on the FBI Joint Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team (JCARD).
24-year veteran of the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, E.J. Melancon, will continue to serve as Warden / Corrections Division Commander. He has served as a criminal investigator, narcotics agent, patrol supervisor, St. Martin Parish Training Academy instructor, and as supervisor of the warrants service bureau. He is a member of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, Louisiana Sheriff’s Task Force, and U.S. Marshal Gator Task Force. Melancon is a medaled 11-year veteran of the Army National Guard, where he was as mechanized infantry solider in Belize and Iraq.
Chris Owens will serve as Enforcement Services Division Commander. Owens studied criminal justice at the University of Louisiana. He began his career at the Lafayette Police Department in 1988, where he received the 100 Club Award. He then joined the Louisiana State Police, where he was named Trooper of the Year. In 2016, he began his career with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, where he supervised the school resource unit, communications, crime analysis unit, uniform crime reporting, marine patrol unit, K-9 unit, and crash reconstruction unit.