Jeff Britt

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Jeffery Earl "Jeff" Britt

Sheriff of Tensas Parish
Louisiana
In office
1992–1999
Preceded by Fred E. Scott
Succeeded by Rickey A. Jones

Born February 15, 1965
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Jill Bairnsfather Britt
Alma mater Newellton High School

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Occupation Businessman

Former law-enforcement officer

Jeffery Earl Britt, known as Jeff Britt (born February 15, 1965), is a businessman from Monterey in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, who from 1992 to 1999 served as the sheriff of his neighboring Tensas Parish, the smallest of the state's sixty-four parishes.

Background

Britt is the son of the pharmacist Edwin Earl Britt (born April 7, 1941), who opened his practice in Newellton in 1964.[1] He has a brother, Jay Kenneth Britt (born May 8, 1970), a captain for the Ouachita Parish Fire Department, whose son, Zechariah Quitman Britt (1991-2108), died at the age of twenty-seven in Monroe, Louisiana.[2] Britt graduated in 1983 from the former Newellton High School and attended thereafter the University of Louisiana at Monroe.[3] His father had graduated in the ULM pharmacy program.[1]

Career

At the age of barely twenty-six, Britt was elected sheriff of Tensas Parish in 1991, when he unseated his fellow Democrat, Fred E. Scott, with 56 percent of the ballots cast. The sheriff's office is anchored in the parish seat of government in St. Joseph.[4] He was reelected in 1995 with 59 percent of the vote[5] but resigned the office prior to the expiration of his second term. Britt was accused of mistreating inmates, lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and charging taxpayers for personal expenses. Britt said in his trial that he never struck an inmate except in self-defense. The trial ended in a hung jury as he accumulated more than $500,000 in legal fees. Rather than face a looming second trial, he accepted a plea bargain, which stipulated resignation from office, four years of probation, payment of more than $21,000 in restitution, and the ending of his law-enforcement career.[6]

In 2017, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards pardoned Britt, an action that Edwards' predecessor, Republican Bobby Jindal, had declined. The pardon was endorsed by the sheriff and district attorney of Catahoula Parish. In 2018, Edwards appointed Britt to a state agency, the Used Motor Vehicle Commission. Britt said that he welcomed the appointment and said that the state should not put "a leper bell on someone for the rest of his life." Since resigning as sheriff, Britt has been a vendor selling mostly snack goods to sheriffs and inmates across North Louisiana.[6]

Political columnist Sam Hanna, Jr., of The Ouachita Citizen in West Monroe (founded by Hanna's father, Sam Hanna, Sr.), tapped Britt as a potential candidate for the Louisiana House of Representatives for the District 21 seat being vacated by the term-limited Democrat, Andy Anders of Concordia Parish.[7] However, Britt did not file qualifying papers to make the race. Two Democrats and two Independents contested the seat in the primary election on October 12, 2019. Democratic candidate Jane Netterville, a former Tensas Parish police juror from St. Joseph, finished last in the four-candidate field with 11 percent of the ballots cast.[8] The top two vote getters in the primary, Democrat C. Travis Johnson, with 5,768 votes (44 percent), and Glen B. McGlothin, Jr., an Independent who polled 3,018 votes (23 percent), advance to the November 16 runoff election. A second Independent candidate, Clint Vargas, drew 2,815 votes (22 percent). The two Democrats hence outpolled the two Independents in the primary, 55 to 45 percent. No Republican filed candidacy papers in the heavily Democratic district.[9]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Edwin Britt. LinkedIn.com. Retrieved on August 20, 2018.
  2. Zechariah Quitman Britt. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on August 20, 2018.
  3. Jeff Britt. Facebook. Retrieved on August 20, 2018.
  4. Election Returns: Tensas Parish. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 19, 1991). Retrieved on August 20, 2018.
  5. Election Returns: Tensas Parish (October 21, 1995). Retrieved on August 20, 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gordon Russell and Elizabeth Crisp (August 19, 2018). Gov. Edwards pardons ex-sheriff with felony record, appoints him to board governing car dealers. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on August 20, 2018.
  7. Sam Hanna, Jr., "Who Wants to Serve?", The Colfax Chronicle, January 31, 2019, p. 4.
  8. Candidate Inquiry. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on August 9, 2019.
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Statistics, October 12, 2019.