Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber Talks Recent Protests, The Importance Of Public Trust
We had a chance to sit with Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber to discuss the recent protests in Lafayette.
Lafayette has experienced civil unrest since the fatal officer-involved shooting of Trayford Pellerin last Friday night (Aug 21) at a Shell station of Evangeline Thruway. While many protests have been peaceful, some of the demonstrations have led to altercations with other citizens, arrests, and looting at a clothing store on the northside.
Sheriff Mark Garber is in a position where he not only responds to the law and order needs of citizens in the city of Lafayette but every inch of Lafayette Parish. What this means is that in situations like what we've been watching unfold with protesting and demonstrations it's not uncommon for Garber to have one person in his ear suggesting that he just let protesters "burn things down" while others are in his ear fearful of any protesting due to the imagery they've seen on television.
Garber's role is a delicate one in times like this and he recognizes that it's his job to protect the community while also protecting the rights of the protesters. Regardless of perception, not every protest is a riot, and not every peaceful demonstration involves looting—but sometimes in the court of public opinion (or Facebook comments) they tend to all get lumped into one category.
It was interesting to hear Sheriff Garber explain what goes into the training but to also hear how the officer-involved shooting of Alton Sterling in 2016 and the subsequent shootings of deputies in Baton Rouge led his department to reevaluate their tactical gear that, at that time, hadn't been updated since the 1970s.
Overall, Garber's message centered around the importance of public trust and how policing with heart from a moral standpoint is paramount when it comes to holding human life as the highest priority when they interact with any citizen.
One quote that stuck with me from Sheriff Garber: "We are only as good as the last thing we did," is something that I think can be applied to just about any person in any situation.
Listen to the entire interview with Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber here.