It started simply because he thought he would enjoy what one of his best friends doing and lasted longer than he had planned because he enjoyed working so much under another of his best friends. What is being referred to is the career of Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) Chief Deputy, Paul Trosclair. Now it is over though as the man who ended up being the best friend Jackson Parish residents had, whether they knew it or not, turned in his badge at the end of February bringing to an end an illustrious, thirty-two (32) career in law enforcement.
According to Trosclair, who after 18 years in the position is believed to be the longest tenured Chief Deputy in Jackson Parish history, it actually hit him that it was time to retire a few years back while on a manhunt with fellow deputies.
“I called on the radio that I had spotted the suspect we were after and described where he was at by saying he was near a place of business that had been closed for nearly 30 years,” recalled Trosclair with a chuckle. “When everyone came back to ask where I was talking about, it hit me that none of the younger Deputies had no clue where I was talking about, as it had been out of business before most of them were even born.”
Trosclair, who first started his law enforcement career in 1989 first as a JPSO Deputy the Investigator for the District Attorney’s office before becoming Chief Deputy kept working mainly for two reasons. The first being that he felt an obligation to Sheriff Andy Brown.
“Way back when Sheriff Brown and I worked together as Deputies, one day we had to go to south Louisiana to a fingerprinting school,” Trosclair said in reflection. “We had been on the road for a while when Andy looked over and said that one day he hoped to be Sheriff and if he ever was that the first thing he would do was make me his Chief Deputy. A couple of years later when he got elected the first call he made was to me offering me the job. Goes to show what kind of person he is. I will always treasure the time I got to work with him and his friendship.”
The feeling is mutual for Brown.
“I would hope so, but I don’t think the people of Jackson Parish really know and understand what a friend Paul has been to them over the years,” said Brown. “I know being able to work with him and getting to know him like I do has meant the world to me. I was blessed to have him beside me all this time. He has been invaluable to me through his counsel and most of all just being the true friend he is. I am going to dearly miss him.”
The other reason Trosclair kept “punching the clock” was that he really enjoyed the opportunity that his position of Chief Deputy afforded him. As he grew older and more experienced, going to work had become more than just a job but a daily mission to try and talk to people about doing the right thing to stay out of trouble. In retrospect, you could call it his witness.
“I spent the first fifteen (15) years of my career focusing on what I thought was my job, which was to put people in jail,” said Trosclair. “I spent the last seventeen (17) years working even harder to try and keep them out of it. I tried hard to talk to people to let them know that it is much better to make needed changes in their lives before they got in serious trouble, as I learned that once someone gets locked up, many times they would end up in jail again and again.”
Trosclair’s counsel and guidance not only was appreciated to the many citizens he tried to help get back on the right path but was noticed among fellow Jackson Parish law enforcement officials as well. This was evidenced by by a statement made by JPSO Investigator Donovan Shultz, who has worked alongside Trosclair his entire career.
“Paul will be missed by everyone at the Sheriff’s Office,” said Shultz. “He was someone that anyone in the Parish could come see and talk to. He took the time to sit down, listen to their problems and help them in any way he could. What is also impressive is that he never asked for or wanted any type of attention or accolades. We want to thank him for everything he has done for our department and for the citizens of the Parish.”
Now that he is retired, Trosclair plans to enjoy his “days in the pasture” by doing what he loves, which is spending time with his family and playing golf with friends. Reflecting back on his career the best way to describe it is by using the words from the old Elvis Presley song “He did it his way.” It was the right way!