Q&A:

The following answers were provided by Nick Tranchina running for Sheriff in St. Tammany Parish:


1. Describe your prior law enforcement experience and any other experience you have relevant to this position.

In 1995, while serving in the Marine Corps I had the opportunity to be temporarily assigned to the Provost Marshals Office (Military Police) while awaiting to be deployed overseas. This was the start of my law enforcement career.  In this capacity, I served in security and patrol functions and during that time was promoted and supervised a MP shift.  

After returning home from military service, I joined the Mandeville Police Department in 1997 as a patrol officer and approximately mid-1998 joined the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in the patrol division.  While serving the sheriff’s office I served as a narcotics detective, property detective, supervisor in special operations, street crime investigator, and a sergeant in training.  I also served in collateral duties that included SWAT (member, trainer, and supervisor), Bomb Squad (member, trainer, and commander), and Dive Team (member).  

I was an elected board member for the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Deputies Association on multiple occasions. 

I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice Management from Concordia University Wisconsin and a Masters of Science degree from Loyola University New Orleans in Criminal Justice Administration.   I also have thousands of hours of professional development and education in law enforcement studies as a law enforcement professional.  

Currently, I work in the corporate sector in the Internal Audit Services Group as a Senior Lead Investigator where I oversee and investigate ethics and compliance cases that could affect the company.  In this role, I investigate theft, fraud, waste, abuse, HR related matters, workplace violence concerns, financial reporting concerns, to name a few, and report findings to senior and executive leadership, as well as help in improving those work environments.      

While working in the corporate sector I received a Master Certificate in Human Resources from Cornell University and earned my Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) rating.  


2. What are the most important challenges facing St. Tammany Parish, e.g. substance abuse, mental health needs, poverty, etc.?  How do you propose to address them?

The following highlights various ideas that hits on overarching aspects of improvement and solutions to challenges in our parish:  

Idea

1)Establish a disciplinary review board made up of Sheriff’s Office command staff, civilian selectees, Legal and HR professionals.   

Reason:  The sheriff’s office has been riddled with law suits because of improper treatment or poor practices related to employee disciplinary actions taken by the organization.  The board will allow for proper review of the allegations, review evidence, receive testimony from the employee and other pertinent witnesses, collaborate with HR professionals regarding historical data for similar behavior, and render decisions based on the review.  The board will allow for fair and consistent application of actions related to employee behavior and ensure an impartial review of the facts presented.    

Idea

2)Increase narcotics enforcement and reduce violent crime trends and behaviors. 

Reason:  Law enforcement’s primary goal is to protect and serve the community in many different capacities.  But most importantly we must enforce the laws we live by.  Part of that protection includes proactive or focused policing to ensure those acting poorly are held accountable and are provided the necessary services to get them back on a productive path in the community.    

Idea

3)Arrestee Drug Abuse and Mental-Health Monitoring (ADAMM)

Reason:  Drugs continue to affect our community across the nation (9.4% nationwide).  A survey of arrestees within 48 hours of arrest about drug use, drug markets, drug and mental health treatment is a necessary function to estimate the prevalence and trends in drug use and related behaviors among arrestees.  If the information collected can be correlated or connected to associated crimes (i.e., burglary, robbery, murder, etc.) this information can be utilized by police commanders to target known drug market areas and arrest the drug offenders who have a high likelihood of committing violent crimes.  This supports the activities of proactive or focused police services.  

Idea

4)Knock down the walls within the organization.  Pure command and control functionality.    

Reason:  Currently the geographical make-up of the organization separates enforcement activities into patrol, investigations (property, persons, major crimes), and special operations (marine, traffic, narcotics). This current specialization or division of jobs causes the organization to be less effective, slow moving, and bureaucratic in nature.  The goal would be to give each division commander full control and oversight over all enforcement activities within their respective districts.  This will streamline operations, cause decisions to be made more decisively and deliberately, and remove the lag that comes with multiple groups having competing interest.   The potential benefits would be faster responses, OT reduction, faster and more concise decisions, continuity of cases from patrol to investigations, and gained intelligence for proactive functions, to name a few.    

Idea

5)Information relay (Internal and External) to improve communications. 

Reason:  Communications is the key to building and gaining trust both internally and externally.  Develop a forum style communications platform that allows for monthly or quarterly updates, as well as, the ability for employees and citizens to ask questions of the executive command staff.      


3. What kind of policies, if any, will you pursue to promote social and racial justice in our community?

Bail Reform/Jail Reform regarding in and out processing

Under the current bail system, arrestees can secure their release by paying a certain amount of money set by a judge. The money, which arrestees either put up themselves or through a bail bond agent, serves as a promise they’ll show up on their court dates.

Judges routinely rely on a fixed schedule to set bail based on the severity of the offense. For example, certain crimes have a set schedule to apply the bond amount.  For felonies, those suggested amounts go up if the suspect has previous convictions.

Risk-assessment tools and programs can give judges an alternative: math formulas that predict the likelihood of a suspect skipping court or getting in more trouble if freed. Predictions might be based on a handful of details about the person’s criminal history or could rely on dozens of bits of data that include biographical information.  This information and risk-assessment will allow the office to work with judges to ensure that those who have economic challenges have the opportunity to fall in the care of their family and still be productive members of the community while awaiting trial.   


4. How will you ensure that inmates’ access to medical and mental health care is adequate and timely?

Those offenders who are in processed will receive detailed screening from ADAMM which will also highlight potential medical concerns if they are incarcerated for an extended period of time.  This happens at in-processing and therefore based on their response we will be able to provide them with the necessary care to ensure their health needs are met while in the care of the parish jail.  

See my responses on ADAMM for more detail.  


5. Before trial and conviction, people held in jail are eligible to vote. If elected, what steps will you take to ensure that pretrial detainees are aware of this right and to assist them in registering or voting while detained?

Educate by providing them notice while detained. Collaborate with the Registrar of Voter to see if the creation of a LE polling place (i.e., absentee or physical polling place at the corrections facility) can be created for pretrial detainees.  

Finally, additional education to those who were convicted and have met their obligation to the state and help them to reestablish their voting rights – which is important as part of the restorative process of the criminal justice system.  This allows individuals to once again become part of the community in a healthy way.  


6. Please describe any changes, innovations or “best practices” you are considering implementing in St. Tammany Parish that could reduce the jail population, improve re-entry services, reduce recidivism? What are your plans to develop police-community partnerships?

Arrestee Drug Abuse and Mental-Health Monitoring (ADAMM) is a program that I already listed, but is a process of tracking actionable law enforcement data, ensure community accountability, coupled with necessary compassion to use information to properly move offenders to necessary treatment programs.  

Drugs continue to affect our community across our parish and the nation and law enforcement plays a front-line role in identifying drug users and markets.  A survey of arrestees within 48 hours of arrest about drug use, drug markets, drug and mental health treatment is a necessary function to estimate the prevalence and trends in drug use and related behaviors among arrestees.  

The information collected can be correlated or connected to associated crimes (i.e., burglary, robbery, murder, etc.) this information can be utilized by police commanders to target known drug market areas and arrest the drug offenders who have a high likelihood of committing violent crimes.  This supports the activities of proactive or focused police services.  

ADAMM will help us screen offenders for drug use, mental health concerns, as well as help us generate reports that help the judicial function reduce the jail population by moving individuals to appropriate programs, improve re-entry services already in progress, and potentially reduce recidivism because of improved services.  

This becomes a true judicial and police-community partnership because offender services are continuously feed new and actionable information and becomes the driving force to ensure re-entry programs and enforcement efforts remain relevant.   

Establishing oversight boards made up of civilian selectees also ensure that sheriff’s office services are effective and of value to the community.  

As previously stated, Bail reform/Jail reform regarding in and out processing also ensure the reduction of non-violent offenders. (See question 3 for more detail)