NEW ORLEANS — A longtime elected official will face a political newcomer this fall.
Incumbent Marlon Gusman and Susan Hutson are vying for the Orleans Parish Sheriff seat.
Hutson announced her candidacy Monday afternoon.
Hutson is an attorney and served as the former NOPD Independent Monitor for more than a decade. In that role, she was tasked with improving police service and trust within the agency. She believes her experience makes her the best candidate for Orleans Parish Sheriff.
Gusman is seeking his fifth term, but Hutson believes the department needs new life.
Hutson said she wants to focus on, “Care, custody and control. We need to improve what’s going on in the Orleans Parish Justice Center. We need to do a better job of making sure the folks that work and are housed there are safe.”
Hutson believes violence is a big issue in the jail and she does not support adding on to the facility.
“You can have all of the facilities that you want, but you have to have the training, the systems in place, accountability systems in place and most importantly supervision is the number one solution for issues in jails.”
Hutson believes the Sheriff’s Office needs to address the mental health and substance abuse issues in the community to drive down the number of people incarcerated.
“Why are we treating them at a jail? We have world class health care and mental health care in the city,” Hutson said. “Let’s do something better.”
Hutson has years of supervising experience as police monitor in Los Angeles and Austin. If elected, she plans to use that experience to shape how she leads.
“I’m a fair supervisor. I’m about people knowing how to do their jobs, I’m about people getting the proper training and support they need to do their jobs,” Hutson said. “We’re going to have accountability systems in place and internal accountability systems to make sure that the good ole’ boy system does not continue to take root.”
Sheriff Gusman declined an on camera interview, but a spokesperson said he has already announced his intention to seek office again.
If Hutson were to defeat Gusman, she would be the first female elected Sheriff in Orleans Parish.