Donated vehicles keep sheriff’s office rolling

Published 3:26 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Since Louisiana sheriffs are required to have balanced budgets when they go out of office, outgoing Washington Parish sheriff Robert Crowe was forced to sell what he could to bring in revenues before Randy Seal took over the position on July 1, 2012.

The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office fleet was minus about 40 cars, plus boats, a utility trailer and more at that point, according to Chief Deputy Mike Haley.

Facing a decimated fleet and a large budget deficit, Seal looked to his friends in law enforcement, and now the fleet has been renewed. Agencies from around the state donated vehicles, and the Louisiana State Police sold the WPSO vehicles at a discounted rate.

“I am deeply touched by the actions of my law enforcement friends from across the state,” Seal said. “Once they learned of our need for vehicles, they did not hesitate to provide us with good vehicles that we are using today to patrol the highways of Washington Parish.

“Had it not been for the generosity of law enforcement colleagues, our deputies would not have had enough vehicles to do their job. The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office will always be grateful for their generosity to us.”

Those who donated vehicles were Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Geautreaux, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand and Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Lonnie Greco. Plus, Bogalusa City Prosecutor David Merlin Duke arranged for a donation of vehicles from the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center.

Additionally, Col. Mike Edmonson, commander of the Louisiana State Police and Washington Parish native Brad Cook, who heads the State Police Motor Pool, provided vehicles at what Haley called “a significantly reduced rate.”

Seal said he appreciates the help.

“Slowly, but surely, we are bringing the sheriff’s office back to an acceptable level so that we can provide quality law enforcement that our citizens deserve,” he said. “The donation of these vehicles, coupled with the restructuring of our budgeting process and the resurrection of our grants program, are paying dividends for the parish.

“I am so thankful for the dedication of all of our employees and the swell of support from the good people of our wonderful parish.”