Central’s MVP: Sheriff Sid Gautreaux

Central’s MVP: Sheriff Sid Gautreaux

There are many unsung heroes in the story of Central’s first 10 years as a city.  But perhaps the individual who has contributed the most and gotten the least credit is East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

The Sheriff is rightly credited with providing a first-class law enforcement agency that does a fine job of keeping the peace in the unincorporated areas of the parish outside the city limits of any municipality.

When the City of Central was founded in 2005, Sheriff Elmer Litchfield and then Sheriff Greg Phares decided to continue their normal patrols in the City of Central.

When Sid Gautreaux was elected Sheriff in December 2007, he could have demanded that the new Central Police Department take over primary responsibility for law enforcement in the city.

But he didn’t.  Instead, his officers, who are based at the Central substation, have continued to patrol Central and do their jobs as before.  In addition, they have been willing to work with and assist the Central Police Department as it grows and develops.

What is generally not well understood is the critical role this plays in keeping the City of Central on a firm financial footing.

One need only look to Zachary to understand what the Sheriff’s decision to continue providing law enforcement in Central means to Central’s city budget.

In the City of Zachary, population 15,894, the city budget is $13.1 million.  Of that amount, $6.2 million is spent on public safety.

In the City of Central, population 28,000, the city budget last year was only $6.5 million.  Of that amount, just $300,000 was spent on law enforcement.

The City of Central usually runs a surplus of $1.5 million annually, and most people attribute that to privatization, but the most important factor in Central’s budget is the Sheriff’s willingness to continue to serve Central.

If Central had to spend even half of the amount Zachary spends on law enforcement, the City of Central would run a $1.5 million deficit each year.

In an interview Wednesday, Central Mayor Jr. Shelton praised Gautreaux for the enormous contribution he has made to the people of Central.

With all the Sheriff does to keep us safe and considering the important role he plays in keeping the City of Central in the black, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux is clearly Central’s MVP!

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