ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says St. John the Baptist Sheriff Mike Tregre violated the state's nepotism law by giving his wife, his son and his daughter reserve deputy status and commissions.
"He violated state ethics law, and when he was sworn into office he took an oath to follow all the laws of Louisiana - not just the criminal code, but the ethics laws and all of the laws of Louisiana," said MCC President Rafael Goyeneche.
Goyeneche says the MCC started its investigation after getting complaints. He says they gathered evidence, including a picture that he says shows Sheriff Tregre and his family in Washington D.C. wearing their credentials at an event to honor two fallen deputies.
"The pictures were taken at the national services in Washington D.C. honoring two fallen deputies that lost their life in St. John Parish the year before, and the son is wearing a badge, and according to his mother's post on her Facebook account he was being thanked for his services during National Police Week in front of the victim's family, in front of the fallen officers' family," said Goyeneche. "This undermines the integrity and the solemness of that event and is disrespectful to those officers."
"He wore my badge," Tregre said. "You see I don't even have a badge on. I let him wear it. I wanted him to feel the pride and be proud of these men and women who died."
Tregre says he never would have given his family members reserve deputy commissions had he known he was violating state ethics laws. He has since revoked their credentials.
"Had I known it was a violation, I would have never issued those cards, which has been a long-standing practice way before I became sheriff of St. John Parish," he said.
The sheriff said his family members were never compensated as reserve deputies. He says he gave them those commissions so they could come back to the parish if there was a hurricane.