Anacoco native Sam Craft was first elected sheriff of Vernon Parish in October 1999. He has accomplished many things during his years as sheriff but he has three that he is most proud of.
In 2005 the parish adopted a half-cent sales tax that was to be used for law enforcement. The funds generated from this tax allowed the sheriff’s department to put school resource officers in each of the schools, issue pay raises for employees and to modernize the entire department with newer technology in each of the patrol units and throughout the department.
During his 33 years in law enforcement, he has found that the constantly evolving mind of criminals has been his primary obstacle.
He says that with the popularity of social media, crimes that he used to read about happening in California or New York and now happening here in Vernon Parish.
He thinks that this is because people browsing through social media pages will see the crimes and get ideas to commit them here.
He said that his department is trying to keep an eye on crimes that may be trending other places and do their best to prevent them from happening here, or at the very least prepare for it in case it does happen.
The one thing they fight every day is the war on drugs. Vernon Parish still has a problem with meth dealers but lately, they have been seeing more crimes involving prescription drugs and opioids.
They are doing the best they can to stay ahead of the drug-related crimes but it is a battle that he never sees coming to an end.
He is quick to add that we can’t just give up on those who commit the drug offenses. He has seen addicts and dealers who have turned their lives around to become productive citizens.
Sheriff Craft says that he tries to treat everyone who comes through the department like he would want his mother, or wife, to be treated. He may not be able to help anyone who comes through his department personally but the least he can do is show them respect.
“Everyone who comes here has an issue. They may not be as big as others, but it’s still their issue. The least I can do is listen to them, be sympathetic to their problem and offer a word or two of advice. I try to convey this to my employees as well: treat everybody how you want your family to be treated.”
Sheriff Craft has joined several other sheriffs throughout Louisiana in filing a lawsuit against manufacturers of prescription painkillers alleging that they have left taxpayers with huge medical and law enforcement costs by recklessly creating opioid addicts.
Sheriff Craft is running for re-election this October.