In June of 1973, the St. Tammany Kiwanis Club honored Police Chief Ernest Loeb of Mandeville as its "Lawman of the Year." Here is the article written about that special event, which included an overview of Mandeville's early police department.
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Mandeville Chief of Police Ernest Loeb Chosen Lawman of the Year
June 17, 1973
Chief of Police Ernest Loeb of Mandeville was honored by the St. Tammany Kiwanis Club recently as Lawman of the Year. His work in the Mandeville area was commended by the group, for he had taken what was a "one man" department and turned it into a modern law enforcement agency with just limited funds.
Chief Loeb, while honored by the award, said that he really accepted the recognition on behalf of his staff and fellow officers. "Law enforcement is such a cooperative effort," he said, "I can't see how one can single out any one officer for such recognition, but I appreciate the recognition. I really couldn't have done anything without the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies."
Loeb received the award in ceremonies at the Colonel and Son Restaurant recently. He was nominated by Spike Tyrney of the Madisonville Police Department. "Whenever I need help," Tyrney commented, "all I have to do is call up Chief Loeb on the radio."
Loeb became chief of police in January of 1969, appointed by the council. At that time there was only one part time man on the police force, Loeb himself. Now there are five full time officers, five part time officers and auxiliary officers who help on the weekends. Loeb feels that his department has made substantial progress in the past four years, and that it is well staffed and equipped to handle the crime problems for some time to come.
"We have all the equipment we could need," Loeb said, saying that the Mandeville Police Department had available everything from resuscitators to a radio base station.
The department has expanded its radio communications somewhat, with two channels available, a citizen's band channel as well as its own private frequency. The department has three radio operators, one manning the radio at all times.
"Therefore we don't have to rely on the sheriff's department radio," Chief Loeb said.
In transportation, the department only had one good car and one "wreck" when Loeb came to the position. Now the force has three cars on call. "We're better off than a lot of police departments," Loeb said, "there's no question about that. As the town gets larger, the police problems will get larger, but we'll be able to handle the growth for quite a while with the facilities we have now."
"We're really very lucky here. The town council has provided the funds to set up a good police department and as a result, crime is not that bad."
While there have been the average number of burglaries, Loeb did say that there had been very few armed robberies and even fewer murders. While the majority of crimes were not of a serious nature, there had been several kidnappings, attempted kidnappings and attempted rapes, he added.
"Our success in solving crimes varies from time to time," Loeb explained. A recent discovery of a house containing dynamite and nitro glycerin prompted a cautious search of Mandeville for such caches of explosives.
Dynamite All Picked Up
"I think we have all the dynamite picked up around town," he commented.
Loeb thinks that the rapid growth of Mandeville is phenomenal. "It's unreal to think of how this place is going to grow," he said. "It will create a lot of problems, for sure, but for the most part it's going to be a controlled growth, something the police department will be able to handle without much trouble. I don't think any other town in St. Tammany will undergo the type of growth Mandeville is about to experience."
In the meantime, the police department is cracking down on the use and abuse of motorcycles, mini bikes and bicycles in Mandeville. A series of tragic motorcycle accidents recently have prompted the police to check all such cycles for safety and adherence to traffic regulations.
"Any kid we find on an unsafe bike will be stopped and charged," Loeb said. "It's for their own safety. We'd rather crackdown now than find ourselves standing in the street later looking over one of these motorcyclists all bruised up and really hurt."
Loeb received his award while as a guest at the Kiwanis Club Lawman of the Year banquet. Also present at the affair were members of the St. Paul's Key Club, the Bogalusa Kiwanis Club, and the local Federal Bureau of Investigation office. Don Diven, resident special agent of the FBI, talked to the group about the FBI, its purposes and history.