At the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, we are a family of approximately 750 committed, compassionate individuals with a passion for public service.
Since the start of my service as Sheriff to the people of Lafayette Parish, I have dedicated a great deal of our efforts and resources to mastering what I consider to be the core functions of our agency. These foundational responsibilities are criminal law enforcement, tax collection, service of process and management of our correctional facilities.
I have reorganized the overall structure of this agency, rendering it better-staffed and equipped for law enforcement operations.
As a result, the number of deputies patrolling the parish has doubled. This, in turn, has helped to foster an environment conducive to quicker response to calls for service and more proactive citizen contacts. Our patrol model has been shifted to a geographic, community approach wherein a designated group of deputies and their supervisors are assigned to patrol the same area of the parish each shift. This approach quickly enhanced the rapport and level of trust among residents and deputies; and continues to encourage cooperation and participation from victims and witnesses as well as increased suspect apprehensions.
Increased staffing in the Patrol Division has also proven to alleviate pressure from the Criminal Investigations Division. Patrol deputies are able to follow through with an investigation to the point of conclusion, thereby allowing my investigators to spend more time and resources on major and/or complex cases.
Reorganization has also had a positive impact on our Corrections Division. Shifts are now manned with the appropriate number of deputies to both supervise inmates and manage our various correctional facilities. These conditions contribute to a better and safer working environment for my staff, and have helped reduce employee turnover in the division. We have been proud to see an increase in the number of deputies opting to stay in corrections instead of transitioning into patrol or leaving for oil field jobs.
As public servants in Lafayette Parish we are humbled by the level of support we receive from a community we are so proud to protect and serve. On behalf of myself and the dedicated men and women of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, we thank you for allowing us the privilege to serve and protect you and your family.
Mark T. Garber
As Lafayette Parish continues to stand out as the community of choice for new residents and businesses, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office will be a model agency for public safety—leading by example in our actions and our community partnerships, built on a foundation of public service and trust.
Serving the community with courtesy, professionalism and respect.
The mission of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is to maintain social order via carefully prescribed ethical, constitutional and legal procedures. In partnership with the community, under the direction of Sheriff Mark T. Garber, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to providing professional law enforcement services that promote public safety.
About the Sheriff
On November 21, 2015, Mark Garber was selected by the people of Lafayette Parish to serve as the 27th Sheriff of Lafayette Parish. In 2020, he entered into his second term of office. Sheriff Garber began his career in law enforcement serving as a commissioned deputy in Acadia Parish under then Sheriff Ken Goss. He then went on to serve as an enforcement agent with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and as a police officer with the City of Arlington, Texas. While in Arlington, Sheriff Garber served in the patrol division, traffic enforcement (as a motorcycle officer), field training officer, police sniper and special operations (Arlington’s version of SWAT team leader).
Sheriff Garber transitioned from local law enforcement to federal service when he was selected to join the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) as a civilian special agent, criminal investigator. As a special agent, Sheriff Garber was selected for deployment as a battlefield interrogator as part of a Special Operations Task Force in Iraq. Once in Iraq, Sheriff Garber assisted various Special Operations Forces by conducting battlefield interrogations and assisting with the exploration of intelligence information. Sheriff Garber is one of only a few civilian federal agents to have been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for activities in a combat theater of operations.
Following redeployment to the United States, Sheriff Garber continued his federal law enforcement service as a United States Secret Service special agent in the New York City field office. Upon his return to Lafayette, Sheriff Garber opened his private law practice and worked as a felony prosecutor with the 15th Judicial District Court. He served Lafayette Parish in this capacity for more than six years, becoming intimately familiar with the local criminal justice system.
With a degree from Louisiana State University and a Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University, Sheriff Garber has a unique combination of education and experience that was gained by years of being involved in the criminal justice process—from the initial investigation, arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing.
Colonel Carlos Stout began his law enforcement career with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office in 1990 as a corrections deputy. He then went on to work at the Lafayette Airport, on the Lafayette Metro Street Unit as an undercover detective and as a patrol supervisor. He left the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office in 2001 to run for Chief of Police in the community of Carencro. In 2002, he was elected as the Carencro Chief of Police and went on to win four re-elections.
Colonel Stout has also served as President of the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Louisiana Attorney General Command College, and the President of the Southwest Louisiana Chiefs of Police. Colonel Stout was additionally appointed by multiple Louisiana Governors to serve on the Council of Peace Officers Standards Training, Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, Louisiana Violent Crime and Narcotics Task Force, Drug Control and Violent Crime Policy Board and the Louisiana Domestic Violence Board.
Colonel Stout rejoined the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office in 2016 after being selected by Sheriff Mark Garber to serve as his Chief Deputy.
The Lafayette Parish region of south Louisiana was settled by French-speaking Acadians in the mid-1700s. The British had driven them from Nova Scotia for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the English Crown. The Acadians were joined by another group of settlers called Creoles, descendants of African, West Indian, and European pioneers. At the time of the migration, Louisiana was under Spanish rule and authorities welcomed the new settlers. Lafayette began as Petit Manchac in the mid-1700s when the immigrants flocked to the point where the Old Spanish Trail crossed the Vermilion River.
In 1821, Acadian refugee Jean Mouton formally designed Lafayette, originally known as Vermilionville, with St. John Church in the center. In 1823, the legislature created Lafayette Parish from a portion of St. Martin Parish and named it after Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was a French general visiting the country at the time. Louisiana is the only U.S. state divided into parishes instead of counties. This original division matched jurisdictions of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1840, Lafayette Parish was rocked by an abortive slave insurrection. After 1840, the attention and energy of local law enforcement personnel was focused on maintaining order among the slave population. As a consequence, many white criminals, particularly petty thieves and rustlers preying on the area’s large but poorly supervised herds of cattle, wreaked havoc on law-abiding citizens. Yet, when these criminals were brought before the parish courts, public prosecutors could rarely obtain a conviction because of the outlaws’ ability to intimidate the jurors.
By 1859, criminal activity in and around Lafayette Parish had become insufferable, prompting the organization of vigilante committees. The criminals were quickly hunted down, flogged and made to leave the state. Those refusing to leave were hanged. Vigilantes soon took similar action against persons who for various reasons were deemed undesirables by the local propertied classes. On September 3, 1859, 600-armed vigilantes surrounded a fortified farmhouse occupied by victims of vigilante justice. Different accounts of the incident were offered by vigilante and anti-vigilante forces, however, evidence showed that one man was flogged to death, several were beaten to death, and others were shot as they fled. An additional eighty victims were reportedly transported to Lafayette Parish, near present-day Scott, where they were tried and convicted “by Judge Lynch.” In late September 1859, Governor Robert C. Wickliffe was compelled to renew his order to disband the comites de vigilance (vigilante committees). The vigilantes reluctantly complied only when threatened with military action by the Governor.
The community prospered until the region was nearly destroyed by yellow fever and the Civil War. In 1881, when the railroad was extended from New Orleans to Houston, the area again prospered. The town’s name was changed to Lafayette in 1884.
In 1940, oil companies began to establish offices in Lafayette because of its central location to oil activities. Today, Lafayette is a center of the gulf oil and gas industry.
Beginning with his election in 1960, Sheriff W. E. Harson instituted the Parish’s first departmentalized Sheriff’s Office. He was also the first Lafayette Sheriff to emphasize training, as he required his personnel to attend special training courses at L.S.U. Sheriff Harson also instituted the first boat patrol on the Vermilion River and the first vehicular rescue unit equipped with a resuscitator, tools and a radio. Sheriff Carlo Listi, elected in 1968, continued the progress started by Sheriff Harson, by transforming the Sheriff’s Office into one of the most efficient, best-equipped, and hardest-hitting law enforcement agencies in the state. Sheriff Listi insisted on a constant patrol system over the entire parish as well as the most modern equipment to protect his deputies. Sheriff Listi organized P.I.L.O.T., a Police Integrated Logistical Operations Team, which gained national recognition. The purpose of P.I.L.O.T. was to afford the most efficient methods possible for rescue work and emergencies pertaining to law enforcement. Sheriff Listi maintained an “Angel of Mercy Vehicle”, an emergency rescue unit for the sole purpose of saving lives in highway accidents, fires, floods, hurricanes, and other disasters.
In 1979, Lafayette Parish pioneered the creation of a 9-1-1 system for its area. House Bill 480 of 1979, authored by Representatives LeBlanc, Bares, and Thompson and handled by Senators Mouton and Champagne on the Senate side, established the first Communications District in the State of Louisiana for the purpose of establishing and maintaining an emergency telephone service for Lafayette Parish. This enactment, which became Act #788 of 1979, set the precedent for a 9-1-1 system with each Communications District boundaries being based on the geographical boundaries of each of the sixty-four parishes in Louisiana.
Sheriff Donald Breaux became sheriff in 1984 and continued the work of his predecessors. Sheriff Breaux continued to upgrade the equipment and technology of the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Breaux instituted a vehicle tracking system for his patrol vehicles to ensure efficient dispatching to calls for service, as well as becoming part of the 800 MHZ trunking system for more reliable intra- and interagency communications. Sheriff Breaux became the first Sheriff in Louisiana to have a jail nationally accredited when it received accreditation by the American Correctional Association on August 5, 1991.
Sheriff Michael Neustrom, elected in 2000, continued the technological advancement of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office by upgrading the computer system and intra-agency communication. He also implemented programs such as the High School Law Enforcement Academy and the After School Tutoring program, in conjunction with the Lafayette Parish School Board, helped fight juvenile delinquency and assisted the community. In 2012 former Sheriff Neustrom spearheaded the creation of the Lafayette Criminal Justice Committee. The CJCC brings the leading criminal justice and law enforcement stakeholders to the table to jointly discuss the most effective ways of addressing public safety.
Today the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is led by Sheriff Mark T. Garber. Sheriff Garber was elected in 2015, and sworn into office on July 1, 2016.