Our Office Offers Programs To Help Citizens Learn About The Criminal Justice System.
We sponsor a community mentoring program, legal education program, and more.
In addition to strong prosecutions, our office believes in a proactive approach to keeping our community safe. We have developed a number of community programs, including those that provide mentoring and legal education for students, as well as initiatives that offer a second chance for some non-violent offenders. These kinds of programs help us connect in a positive way to the community we serve. Our programs stress the values of good citizenship, make students aware of the consequences of bad choices, and provide a sense of hope. The programs we offer are described below.
Kids Legal Education And Discovery (Kids LEAD) is offered to middle and high school students in St. Tammany. Students are invited to visit the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center in Covington for a full day of interactive instruction and activities. The activities may include visiting a courtroom to talk to a judge, participating in a mock grand jury, hearing from child advocates, and more. The goal is two-fold: to educate students about the legal system to help them avoid getting into trouble and to expose them to a variety of legal careers. One full-day session is offered during the fall semester and again during spring. Two middle or high schools are invited each time on a rotating basis. If your school is interested in participating, please contact our Communications Department at 985-809-8383.
This video gives a glimpse of our Kids LEAD program for middle school students. Criminal Division Chief J. Collin Sims and the Honorable Rusty Knight talk to students from a local junior high school about the criminal justice system.
Teach One To Lead One
Teach One To Lead One (T1L1) is a nationwide community mentoring program with chapters throughout the country. Our Office worked with school administrators to implement it at Bogalusa High School in Washington Parish. We recruited upstanding members of the community to serve as mentors inside the school. The mentors are trained to facilitate the interactive program, which focuses on helping students incorporate universal principles, such as integrity, respect, and teamwork into their daily lives. Mentors visit a middle school and a high school class at Bogalusa High School weekly. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact the Communications Department at 985-809-8383.
Our office held its first community warrant clinic in fall 2020 at Peter Atkins Park in Covington. Participants, who were required to register in advance, were given a second chance to pay old traffic tickets (with some fees waived). As a result, old warrants for their arrest were revoked. Our office teamed with community organizations, including the Covington branch of the NAACP and Growing Real Alternatives Everywhere (GRAE) for the program. One participant was moved to tears to have this burden lifted (see video to the left). Please monitor our website and social media pages for announcements about upcoming clinics.
At the end of each school year, the District Attorney has presented a leadership award to outstanding students. Award recipients are selected by their schools for excellent service, leadership, and academic performance. Every high school and middle school in the 22nd Judicial District (Washington and St. Tammany Parishes) is invited to participate.
Fresh Start Expungement Program
The Fresh Start Program assists those who qualify under state law for a process called expungement to get an old arrest or conviction record sealed from public view. The program makes the process more affordable and convenient for participants, who are thoroughly screened for final approval. On the day of the event, all agencies involved in the expungement process–local law enforcement agencies, the Clerk of Court, and district judges in Washington and St. Tammany, as well as the Louisiana State Police and volunteer attorneys–come together at the courthouse to expedite the paperwork. Stay tuned to our website and social media for word about when the program, which is generally offered every other year, will be held again. Please watch the videos (left) for more information about the program and one of the many success stories.
District Attorney Collin Sims and his staff members are available to speak at your local school or organization. Our office includes attorneys, investigators (with law enforcement backgrounds), victim advocates, communications professionals, and clerical staff. To request a speaker from our office, contact
our Communications Division at 985-809-8383.
Our office recognizes pertinent commemorative dates throughout the year, such at National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, by disseminating information, and/or hosting events. Below are examples of past programs.
Volunteering and Fundraising
When historic floods left much of the Baton Rouge area under water in 2016, our office donated supplies and sent volunteer staff members to help families with their cleanup. When the St. Tammany West Chapter of Habitat For Humanity asked members of the legal community to participate in a special event to help build a home for a needy family, our staff members stepped up for that, as well. District Attorney Warren Montgomery participates annually in fundraising efforts for Safe Harbor and the Children’s Advocacy Center/Hope House, and through our office’s Charitable Committee, staff members have donated to local toy drives at Christmas, sent socks to local nursing homes, and participated in a walk, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
To get more information on our Programs or to volunteer or participate, please contact our Communications Division at 985-809-8383 or write to email@example.com.
For more photos, please visit us on Facebook and YouTube. Links are at the bottom of every page.