The ideal of law and order looms large in St. Tammany Parish, but real vigilance against crime means that public servants should be prosecuted for wrongdoing, too.
That’s why former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy Ricky Steinert shouldn’t get a pass for falsifying an arrest report for a suspect charged with DWI. Steinert resigned from the sheriff’s office last year after revelations that he described a DWI suspect as flunking a sobriety test although smartphone video showed the suspect performing well. Steinert reportedly confessed to lying, and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith and District Attorney Warren Montgomery have asked Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to investigate Steinert's actions.
Steinert racked up lots of DWI arrests thanks to special grant funding that seems to reward law enforcement agencies for slapping on the cuffs. Now, the arrests Steinert made have been called into question amid growing concerns that such enhanced enforcement programs create an informal quota system.
Steinert abused his office, and in a parish that truly values law and order, he should face serious consequences.