POSTED: Monday, October 17, 2011 - 6:32pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 21, 2011 - 4:21pm
LIVINGSTON PARISH, La (NBC33) — Chief Criminal Deputy, Jason Ard, promises to keep Livingston Parish safe if he's elected sheriff on Saturday.
"With Jason Ard, what you see is what you get," he says. "I'm running for the right reasons."
Ard has been with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office for 18 years. Now, he wants to committ his years of experience to the sheriff's seat.
"I have a lifelong commitment to the sheriff's office. I have a lifelong commitment to the parish," he says. "It's not just about the title. It's about the job."
Livingston is one of the fastest growing parishes in the state. In ten years, the population jumped up almost 40%, and it's still getting bigger.
"They move here because of the good schools, because of the available properties, and because it's safe," Ard says.
He says, even though the population is rising, crime and drug abuse numbers are falling. "We've actually seen a little bit of a decrease in meth labs," he says. "Are they still out there? Of course."
Pharmacies keep track of how often a person buys Sudafedrin, the main ingredient in meth, and deputies can keep an eye on that. New laws allow deputies to make arrests when they find the makings of a meth lab instead of the finished product.
"You see another spike in arrests becasue the more tools we have, the better law enforcement we can provide," he says.
Ard says those tools allowed for more meth arrests, growing from just five arrests in 2000 to 165 arrests in 2009 and 106 in 2010.
"Sometimes the perception is 'oh, Livingston Parish has thie meth problem. We have this. We have that.' We have a very aggressive law enforcement team here. We make a lot of aggressive arrests, and we have stats to prove it," he says.
Ard says he has other plans to protect his community, including, in time, building sheriff substations across the parish. "Used to be, it didn't take you long to get from one point to the other because you had no traffic," he explains. "But now, traffic has basically closed in on us, so it kind of puts more of a strain on our response time."
Ard says adding the substations would spread deputies out all over the parish.
He says he's got what it takes to do the job. "I'm in a position where I know where we've been cause I've been there. I know where we are today. I know what struggles we have, and I know where we need to be in the future."
He says he's running for all the right reasons. "I don't work for myself. I represent Livingston Parish, and I feel that I am the right man for the job."
NBC33 conducted interviews with both candidates. Click here  to see why his opposition, Mickey McMorris, says he’s the right man for the job.
Check back to NBC33TV.com on election day for up to the minute coverage.