|Stephen Wayne Prator, Sr.|
|Assumed office |
July 1, 2000
|Preceded by||Donald E. Hathaway|
|Born|| September 25, 1951|
|Spouse(s)||Carolyn Craig Prator|
|Children|| Stephen Prator, Jr.|
Jon Joseph Prator
|Alma mater|| Louisiana State University|
FBI National Executive Institute
|Occupation||Law-enforcement officer since 1973|
Stephen Wayne Prator, Sr., known as Steve Prator (born September 25, 1951), of Shreveport is the first Republican since Reconstruction to serve as sheriff of Caddo Parish in far northwestern Louisiana. He begins his sixth term in the office in the summer of 2020.
The son of Sheldon (or Shelton) Perry Prator (1926–2001) and Margie Prator, Stephen Prator was born in Clarksville, Tennessee, but moved to Caddo Parish when he was seven years of age. His paternal roots are in Cass County in east Texas. His grandparents were Joseph Bell Prator (1893–1962) and the former Erne Ruth Simpson (1896–1990). He has a brother, David Perry Prator of Kingwood, Texas. He is married to the former Carolyn Craig. His children are Stephen Prator, Jr., Jon Joseph Prator, and Tracey Prator Cascio. He was born in Clarksville in Montgomery County in northern Tennessee.
Prator received a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University in the capital city of Baton Rouge. He also graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Executive Institute in Quantico, Virginia. He attended basic police academy at LSU in Baton Rouge.
In 1973, Prator became a Shreveport police officer. In 1990, Hazel F. Beard, Steve Prator's aunt and the first of only two Republican mayors of Shreveport since Reconstruction, named Prator chief of police, an appointive position. In 1999, he stepped down as police chief to run for sheriff, when the incumbent Donald Edgar "Don" Hathaway, Sr., did not seek a sixth four-year in office. Prator was elected to the first of his thus far four terms in that position. In that first campaign, Prator led with 37,739 votes (70.5 percent), compared to 13,858 (25.9 percent) for the Democrat Marshall W. Nelson, and 1,921 votes (3.6 percent) for the No-Party candidate, Robert N. Creamer. Creamer again ran against Prator in 2003.
Prator's term began on July 1, 2000, when Donald E. Hathaway retired after twenty years as sheriff. Upon taking office, Prator streamlined certain operations and saved $3 million in expenses. Prator introduced "community-oriented policing" and developed a network of volunteer programs. He opened the first centers to deal with juvenile truancy, including a temporary holding facility. He supported the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in public schools, which Hathaway had first instituted in Shreveport. Prator established bicycle patrols, neighborhood watch teams, and a drug interdiction unit. He developed a work-release program for inmates at the Caddo Correctional Center.
Prator is a member of the Louisiana Sheriff's Association, Cops for Christ, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He was named in 2008, along with his then colleague, Larry Callaway Deen, former sheriff of Bossier Parish, to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice, a multi-agency program. Prator is active in the Louisiana State Fair Board, the LSUS Foundation, and the Norwela Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Prator was instrumental in the establishment in 2008 of "Safety Town" located between Walker Road and Jewella Avenue near the South Park Summer Grove Baptist Church. "Safety Town" teaches children how to avoid danger and how to protect their own safety. Robert Madison "Bob" Griffin, then of KTBS-TV, worked with Prator to promote the project. In 2014, Prator launched a program to train children between eight and twelve years of age in gun safety. The course is taught at a gun safety camp sponsored by the sheriff's department.
In the election held on October 22, 2011, Prator defeated the Democratic candidate, Craig Smith, 37,799 (78.7 percent) to 10,216 (21.3 percent). Robert Creamer did not file for the position though he had indicated that he had planned to do so.
On July 1, 2014, Prator took on the role of director of the Caddo Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, a state agency responsible for disaster and emergency preparedness and response efforts. Previously Caddo and Bossier parishes had operated a mutual Homeland Security office, but Bossier Parish elected to establish its own facility. The sheriff's office will fund the Homeland Security office for Caddo Parish.
Prator handily won a fifth term as sheriff in the primary election held on October 24, 2015. He defeated the Democrat Eric Hatfield, 37,112 votes (73.2 percent) to 13,561 (26.8 percent).
In 2017, Sheriff Prator opposed Governor John Bel Edwards's planned release of state prisoners, a move also endorsed by the Louisiana District Attorneys Association as well as bipartisan members of the legislature. Practor said the release would increase violent crime in Caddo Parish. "I wasn't elected to rehabilitate people. There needs to be more done before this law takes effect," Prator said. The New York Times accused the sheriff of racism because he also described certain state prisoners as "bad" and those in parish prisons as "good" because they often perform trusty-type roles. In addition to the parish prisoners, the Caddo Parish Correctional Center houses inmates for the Louisiana Department of Corrections.
On May 16, 2018, Prator presided over a public meeting to seek consensus on how to curb the rising crime rate in Shreveport. "We've got a lot of crime here. We've got a lot of violence here. And just because the numbers might be up or down a little bit, if you put them all together, this is a dangerous place, at times," Prator said.
In August 2018, Prator again criticized Governor John Bel Edwards' early release of numerous state prisoners under the "Justice Reinvestment Program." According to Prator, several crimes that he considers violent are now classified as non-violent. He also objects to the reduction in penalties for several violent offenses, including "a home invasion with a weapon." What earlier meant a five-year minimum sentence regarding a home invasion, the Edwards changes allow a one-year minimum sentence, followed by the offer of probation to the offender.
As the disagreement with Prator escalated, Edwards stopped the pending appointment of Mrs. Prator to a seat on the Red River Waterway board of commissioners formerly held by the late Rogers M. Prestridge of Shreveport. On August 30, Prator again questioned Edwards' criminal justice policies in an appearance on The Moon Griffon Show, a statewide radio broadcast. Instead, Edwards appointed Mike Deville of Rapides Parish to fill the slot. U.S. Senator John Neely Kennedy has strongly defended Prator in the dispute with Edwards. Kennedy, a potential Republican opponent to Edwards in 2019, said that he believes Edwards rejected Carolyn Prator's appointment because of the sheriff's earlier criticism of the governor's justice reforms, bipartisan measures that Kennedy himself also opposes. Kennedy cited the African-American Democratic state Senator Gregory Tarver of Shreveport, who was quoted in The Baton Rougee Advocate as having said that Edwards told him he blocked the nomination of Carolyn Prator because of her husband's opposition to the justice reforms.
In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 12, 2019. Prator led a four-candidate field with 39,140 votes (65 percent). He defeated two Democrats, George Eric Hatfield, who polled 12,724 votes (21 percent), and the African-American, Hersy Jones, Jr., who drew 6,887 votes (11 percent). A No Party candidate, Glen Cornell, ran fourth with 1,523 votes (3 percent).
- Stephen Prator. ussearch.com. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- Click Stephen Prator, September 1951. voterportal.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on February 4, 2014.
- Shelton Perry Prator. wadeprater.com. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.
- Louis R. Avallone, "This Month's Meeting". The Caddo Republican, Vol. 17, Edit. 4 (April 2012). Retrieved on May 22, 2012.
- Steve Prator in the U. S. School Yearbooks. search.ancestry.com. Retrieved on January 10, 2015.
- Prator: Caddo Sheriff. steveprator.org. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.
- Caddo Sheriff Support. prator.org. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- Primary election returns, October 23, 1999. staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- Adam Duvernay, "Prator's 10th anniversary", The Shreveport Times, July 25, 2011.
- Eric Brock. About our Sheriffs. caddohistory.com. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- D.A.R.E.. caddosheriff.org. Retrieved on June 14, 2014.
- Governor Bobby Jindal Announces Appointments to the Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, March 4, 2008. gov.louisiana.gov. Retrieved on February 4, 2014.
- Sheriff's Safety Town - Shreveport. sheriffssafetytown.org. Retrieved on June 11, 2014.
- Bob Griffin. KTBS-TV. Retrieved on June 11, 2014.
- Annie Andersen (June 17, 2014). Sheriff's office teaches gun safety to young campers. KMSS-TV. Retrieved on June 20, 2014.
- Primary election returns. staticresults.sos.la.gov (October 22, 2011). Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- Alexandria Burris (June 16, 2014). Steve Prator to lead new Homeland Security Office. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on June 17, 2014.
- Results for Election Date: 10/24/2015. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on October 25, 2015.
- Caddo Sheriff Prator criticized for 'racist' remarks. The Shreveport Times (October 12, 2017). Retrieved on February 16, 2018.
- Sheriff Steve Prator says Shreveport is a dangerous place at time. KEEL Radio. Retrieved on May 16, 2018.
- Sheriff Steve Prator highly critical of prison-reform efforts. KEEL Radio. Retrieved on August 22, 2018.
- John E. Settle, Jr. (August 16, 2018). Gov. Edwards plays politics to deny Caddo Parish a waterway commission seat. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on August 30, 2018.
- Greg Hilburn. Kennedy accuses Edwards of vendetta against Caddo sheriff. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on September 16, 2018.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 12, 2019.