BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Another big race on Election Day is in Pointe Coupee Parish, where the long time sheriff is facing a challenger.
René Thibodeaux is trying to unseat current sheriff, Bud Torres, who’s looking to be elected for a fourth term in office. Campaign signs line the streets of Pointe Coupee Parish show the two men vying to be the top cop in the parish.
“I think that anyone out there that is trying to make a decision, I feel like we have earned the trust in the public, and I think we’ll see on Saturday what that level of trust is,” said Torres.
“My team has already made our decision months ago, and we feel like it’s time for a change,” said Thibodeaux.
Torres has been in the position since 2008 and says he has 40 years of experience in law enforcement. Thibodeaux has worked with the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office for 23 years, holding a number of positions.
“Civil deputy, bailiff, DARE instructor for 11 years, and also have been on the SWAT teams, JTF7 teams, and also defensive tactic instructor,” said Thibodeaux.
“I was a retired Louisiana State trooper. I was there for 27 years and also a wildlife agent,” said Torres.
The sheriff’s office currently has 100 officers and operates under a $12 million per year budget. But they also have a multi-million dollar surplus too, according to Torres.
Whoever wins, here are the priorities for both candidates.
“To keep and build that trust between the community and the sheriff’s office. I think the other thing is the training, and the conditions that the officers are under, and to try and set the organization up for success down the road,” said Torres.
“Bringing back the DARE division and some juvenile programs and most definitely the canine units. One thing that I want to do is bring back community policing,” said Thibodeaux.
Torres believes there’s still a lot more to accomplish if reelected, but Thibodeaux thinks a change is needed.
“I’m going to be 100% dedicated to being a full-time sheriff, and I’m going to be proactive. That means I’m going to get out there and take care of the drug problem, take care of the juvenile problems before it’s too late,” said Thibodeaux.
“We can go down the road 10 to 15 years and not have my successor, be in a position where he doesn’t have to worry about paying for the health benefits of retired employees, and getting better at what we do,” said Torres.
While Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 12, sheriffs’ terms in Louisiana don’t end until June 30, 2020.