Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff-elect says training, relationships will help prepare him for new position

Published 9:01 am Sunday, December 3, 2023

Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff-elect Kyle Miers says he is ready to get started with his new job.

Miers, 48, who won the Nov. 18 run-off election to oust Sheriff Ivy Woods, has spent 23 years in law enforcement with the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office. He is also a veteran of the Louisiana Army National Guard.

During a recent interview with the American Press, Miers said he is thankful for being given the chance to be sheriff in the parish which has been home to his family for multiple generations. Growing up, Miers spent summers playing baseball in Jennings and graduated from Welsh High School in 1994.

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Miers said he is excited, eager and ready to hit the ground running. He plans to bring his experience, discipline, dedication, determination and proven leadership when he officially takes office on July 1.

Since the election, Miers has been studying up for the new role by working alongside Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso and Sheriff-elect Stitch Guillory.

“Right now I am preparing while I am at work,” Miers said. “I am now in training mode so I am going to all different divisions inside Calcasieu Parish learning the administrative side of everything. Obviously I won’t know the details, but I will be familiar with the laws needed and rules to follow.”

Miers said the training and relationships he has built in Calcasieu Parish will help prepare him for the position. Miers began his relationship with Mancuso in 2000 working as a reserve deputy for eight years in the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office. He followed Mancuso to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office where he attended the training academy.

“I have already worked in a lot of the divisions – corrections, patrol, SWAT, marine, investigations,” he said. “I did that in a law enforcement role. Now I’m going back to doing everything through an administrative role.”

Miers said he is humble enough to know that he does not know everything and will bring in people who are strong in their areas to help him.

He has already appointed Warren Levy as his chief deputy. Levy, who grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Welsh High School, is a Desert Storm veteran who has served 25 years in law enforcement. His experiences include serving as a training officer on patrol, working on the crime deterrent unit, vice, canine, federal drug task force and SWAT.

“When you look at what I’ve done and what he’s done, he kind of went to canine and drugs,” he said. “I don’t have that type of experience. I wanted to see where I was weak and I took his strengths to match my weaknesses and my strengths match his weaknesses so we can come up with the best duo.”

After getting past the election, Miers is now focusing on the next seven months.

“Before we get in, I would like to interview all the employees that are there now so that I know what’s what, who’s there and what they do and who’s getting paid what,” he said. “In the interview process, I want to know where they work now and if they desire to work anywhere else. You might have someone who has been on patrol for 15 years and they are burned out on patrol. They may want to work in detectives, so why not try and give them that opportunity?If you can put somebody where they want to work, you can get the best production.”

Miers said he plans to take time to observe how things are run and listen to employees before he starts making any changes.

“If what I observe is good, why change it?” he said. “But if I see it can be better we will work on that to better the deputies and people of our parish.”

He would like to implement more programs for youth like a Junior Deputy Program to promote good behavior and introduce law enforcement to the youth in a positive light. He also wants to incorporate the Stay Alert Stay Alive program to educate youth about the dangers of online interaction, drugs, consequences for their actions and preventing bullying while continuing with the DARE program. As for the elderly, he wants to work with the Council on Aging to focus on scams and other programs for older residents.

“I’m not big for taking away programs unless the community doesn’t benefit,” he said. “If the community benefits from it, I want to keep it and add to it. I’m always looking to see what we can do better.”

Among his other goals, Miers would like to update department equipment and technology, provide more deputy training, improve communications with citizens and other law enforcement agencies, establish a crime deterrent unit and get proactive on juvenile crime, as well as jail reform and focus on cold cases.

Miers said he would like to see the regional jail operate at 100 percent of its capacity.

“We have hundreds of active warrants in Jeff Davis Parish, so when you have 15 empty beds in the female dorm, you pull those warrants for females who have felony warrants, you go hunt them down and you book them in jail,” he said. “Then when we run out of room or start to show a need for more space, then I will make plans to get more space.”

He also wants to work with the Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury to move forward with repairs needed for the jail.

However, the first thing on his agenda will be hurricane preparedness.

“Once we get in, that’s July 1,” he said. “That’s in the middle of hurricane season, so I want to get with Office of Emergency Preparedness and establish some type of relationship with OEP so that people know evacuation routes and where supplies will be stored, where they can find sandbags and feel confident that law enforcement will be here watching their stuff if they have to evacuate.”

Mires has experience responding to natural disasters including floods and hurricanes.

Miers said he will make himself accessible to the public and have an open door policy for his deputies, local residents and other law enforcement agencies.

“The thing I want the community to know is I am open and I will listen,” he said. “I want to talk to everybody who wants to talk to me, but I also want the people to understand that I am human. I might miss a text, message or a phone call, but if they don’t hear from me, call me or message me back.”

Miers said he ran for sheriff to make a difference in the parish and bring integrity and accountability to the office.

“I am exactly where God wants me to be,” he said. “I really want to make a change and it’s not for me. I’m tired of seeing people suffer. I’ve sat on porches and I’ve cried with families. I’ve seen people who have lost all hope. I’ve seen people accept being victims because there’s no hope in law enforcement. I truly believe in my heart that we are doing God’s work and I believe we are here at a certain time to do just that.”

Since announcing his intentions to run for sheriff in April, Miers said the support from local residents has been unbelievable.

”When I tell them I hope I don’t let you down, they say ‘No you won’t. Just try and we know you are going to give it your best.,” he said. “I have people say they know I am not going to solve every case, but they ask that I just try.”