Parish parties with GrecoJul 16th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: top story
Hundreds gathered at the Buras Auditorium July 11 to celebrate the inauguration of new Sheriff Lonnie Greco and Chief Deputy Brian Boudreaux.
Although spirits were high, Greco and other speakers at the celebration didn’t tiptoe around the elephant in the room– that the new Sheriff faces many challenges ahead as the department is still reeling from former Sheriff Jiff Hingle pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bribery.
“We’re taking it one day at a time; there are many challenges, but I’m not afraid to take them on,” Greco stated in a speech after taking the official oath. “The healing process has to get started. I’ve been ridiculed because of members I’ve kept on, but I’ll tell you this– I don’t take money and turn around and put it to bad.”
Addressing rumors flying around the internet, Greco stated frankly that those spreading unfounded gossip “don’t even have a life.”
“If you have something to say, don’t hide on NOLA.com or Facebook, say it to someone’s face,” Greco said promptly.
Council Chairman Byron Marinovich took to the podium and asked the public to give Sheriff Greco time to make changes and turn things around.
“I think he’s going to do a great job and I encourage everyone to stand behind him,” said Marinovich.
Former Sheriff Ernest Wooten— who ran against Greco in last fall’s election— also spoke about his faith in the 25-year veteran of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Department.
“Unless you’ve been there, you don’t know the awesome responsibility this man faces,” Wooten said. “I’m asking the public to stand behind him and give him time— things aren’t going to happen overnight. Just wait and see.”
Policing styles and future plans
Greco and his new Chief Deputy Brian Boudreaux both worked under Sheriff Wooten during his tenure, and Wooten explained that although the two men have different styles—Greco is “by the book” and Boudreaux “is aggressive”— the two men both bring a lot to the table.
“I am by the book,” Greco affirmed. “I will not tolerate criminals; if you are selling drugs in this parish, we will hunt you down.”
Greco told the crowd that over the past six months, he has cut $3.5 million from the budget. “They were tough cuts, but there are more to come,” he stated.
He explained that Capital Outlay funds for the department, are only for “bricks & mortar, and equipment. The new vehicles coming are because of a bond floated by Jiff Hingle and if you don’t use it, you get penalized.”
As far as future plans for safeguarding the parish, Greco announced that he has plans to set up five substations at various borders.
“We welcome everybody to our parish, but I’m not going to sit here and let drugs and thugs cross the border,” Greco said firmly.
In a message to his deputies, Greco asked that they work together as team to support one another and treat everyone they encounter on the job with respect and dignity. He also asked that the public reciprocate that respect.
“Be courteous to officers that pulls you over for a traffic ticket, they might be the one who saves your life one day,” he noted.