FRANKLINTON – An estimated 500 people filled the front lawn of the Washington Parish Courthouse Tuesday morning to see Robert J. “Bobby” Crowe sworn into office as Washington Parish sheriff 40 years after his father, Dorman, ended a 20-year term in the same office.
|DAILY NEWS PHOTO/Marcelle Hanemann Judge William J. “Rusty” Knight (left) administers the oath of office to Washington Parish Sheriff Robert J. “Bobby” Crowe as the new sheriff’s wife, Kim Crowe holds the Bible.|
Flanked by state, parish and local dignitaries and members of his own staff, Crowe sat nervously bouncing his knee during the preliminary ceremonies, looking like he’d rather be working than being feted as the man of the moment.
The incoming sheriff was introduced by Sen. Ben Nevers, who said he knows Crowe, and that he believes a “new day” is dawning in the sheriff’s office. He encouraged everyone to support the new administration in getting its job accomplished.
Twenty-second Judicial District Judge William J. Knight administered the oath of office while Crowe’s wife, Kim, held the Bible. Then Sheriff Crowe took the microphone.
He said he was nervous about the ceremony, but that he’s ready to hit the ground running as sheriff.
Although Tuesday was his first official day on the job, Crowe said he’s been busy for months assembling a staff and planning programs. He said he retained more than 80 percent of prior Sheriff Aubrey Jones’ employees so as to diminish the traditional “politics” of such transitions and to focus “more on accountability.”
“It’s imperative the sheriff’s office is run like a business,” said Crowe.
He offered a glimpse of his “vision of the future.”
Crowe said he’s already:
– Terminated the prisoner work release program because it was “losing a substantial amount of taxpayer money.” He said he would try to rework the program later.
– Secured a rural substation location in Mt. Hermon and is working to get another in the Isabel area.
– Assigned a full time deputy to “work the rivers.”
Crowe said he’s also hired a CPA to bring “a new level of financial accountability” to the office, as well as a new “very experienced” grant writer and a new warden for the parish jail.
The sheriff told the citizens of Washington Parish to expect changes at the jail, and said he already has a plan to address overcrowding. He said he’ll add a Street Crimes Action Team with a new drug dog to the Drug Task Force. And he’ll increase patrols to five units per shift, with each unit carrying a “certified, qualified” deputy.
Crowe also vowed to “work DWIs, radar and seat belt” patrols.
And he said if someone is “stuck on the side of the road” and a unit passes by and doesn’t help, he wants to know about it.
“That’s what we’re for, to serve and protect,” said Crowe.
In closing, Crowe made a vow, “We will do the right thing for the right reasons in the right time.”
In fact, the new era had already begun.
“I’m not waiting to start,” he said later. “We’ve already been working on some problem areas that have been needing attention. I’ve already got plans, and now I’m going to start implementing them.”
Crowe served with the Bogalusa Police Department for 27 years, working his way up from patrolman to assistant chief of police, retiring in 1996. He also worked for the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office from 1999 to 2001, and was in charge of courthouse security. His father, the late Dorman Crowe, was sheriff in the 1950s and 60s.