WBR Sheriff Mike Cazes not seeking re-election for sixth term

West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes announced Tuesday that he won’t seek reelection for his sixth term.

Before he was elected sheriff, Cazes was a road deputy, city marshal and chief criminal deputy. He was president of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association in 2011 and was inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame in 2013. Overall, Cazes has spent 43 years with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

“Serving as your sheriff has been the greatest honor of my life,” Cazes said in a statement.

wbr sheriff mike cazes

There are three people so far vying to become the next West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff: Zack Simmers, a former sheriff’s deputy who is taking a leave of absence to focus on the election effective Feb. 15; Dale Simoneaux, the Sheriff Office’s chief of operations and Cazes’ son-in-law; and Jeff Bergeron, who is currently the deputy director of investigations at the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation. 

The sheriff office’s level of transparency was questioned recently with the arrest of deputy Mandy Miller. Miller was arrested in late January and charged with five felonies after allegedly stealing over $158,000 from the sheriff’s office,

The West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office launched an internal investigation into WBRSO employees to determine if anyone is leaking any information on the particular case to the media. The investigation was called off a few days later after the media blasted WBRSO for their actions.

The two people who were authorized to speak to the media at the time were Simmers & Simoneaux. Because of the upcoming election, there was an alleged internal battle within the agency that if one spoke to the media more, one would be getting additional publicity and that’s why now, neither are permitted to speak to the media.

Since then, the sheriff’s office has designated a media liaison and Simmers has taken a leave of absence from the sheriff’s office to concentrate on the election.

“I believe the Sheriff’s Office needs to move in a new direction, and transparency is needed to regain the trust and support of the citizens of West Baton Rouge Parish,” Simmers said in a news release about his leave of absence he shared on social media on Feb. 1.

The election is Oct. 14.

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