HARVEY - The news of the sheriff's career change came as a surprise to many people, even those in parish government who have worked with him for a long time.
Operations and Program Director for WWL Radio, Diane Newman said when Sheriff Normand would come on the air with a live press conference, she would always say he'd make a good talk show host. She said he has no fear, would talk truth to power, and would speak his honest opinion.
Tuesday parish council members were reacting to the stunning career change.
Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts says Sheriff Normand has a great poker face. Their recent conversation did not reveal today's news.
"He has always been one that's been outspoken. He learned that from his predecessor. If it was a controversial issue, Newell was never one to shy away from giving his opinion. In that respect, our loss for the parish is going to be their gain," said Roberts.
Crime is an important concern for citizens, according to Roberts and the sheriff's honesty of opinion gave the parish stability and a sense of peace and relief.
"I think that gave people a sense of assurement that the deputies that were on the road had the support of their commander and that we weren't going to tolerate nonsense on the streets," said Roberts.
While Roberts believes the department will continue being proactive against crime, his colleague, Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng says citizens will get to see Sheriff Normand's broad scope of knowledge in economic development and business.
"When he told me what was going on and I heard the excitement in his voice and the new challenge that he has the opportunity to do, I was nothing but happy for him. Newell is a very, very intelligent man and he's still going to give back to our community," said Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, Councilwoman-at-Large, Division B.
For her, it's bitter sweet. She has known the Sheriff since she was 12, and he worked alongside her father, Sheriff Harry Lee.
"I'll say to be honest, it's a bitter sweet day," said Lee-Sheng.
And Lee-Sheng was asked whether would she run for sheriff and responded that she loves her council job, it's not even half way through her term, and there is a lot of work still to be done, but the sheriff's office will always have her support.
The election for a new sheriff is already scheduled.
“Our understanding is that the election would be in March. The qualifying would occur in the fall. There's already an election that's going to have to take place in Metairie. There is a constable out in that area that passed away and there's a vacancy there that has to be filled," said Roberts.
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