The State of Louisiana Now Has a Black Female Sheriff For the First Time Ever

Susan Hutson

Susan Hutson has been elected as Orleans Parish Sheriff in Louisiana, making her the first-ever Black woman to take on the role in what is known as one of the most troubled jails in the US.

Hutson won against the long-time sheriff, incumbent Marlin Gusman in the general election for the position in December 2021. Prior to her new role, Hutson began her career in law and police oversight. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University School of Law, she became part of an all-female Black law firm. She also opened her own firm and joined the prosecutor's office in Corpus Christi.

Hutson eventually held roles as an independent police monitor in various cities such as Austin, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. She has since built her reputation as a reliable police oversight, even chosen to lead national and international organizations dedicated to the job.

However, Hutson said she became frustrated that she could only document the problems she encounters within the police department but couldn't officially impose changes. That's when she decided to run for election for Orleans Parish Sheriff in Louisiana.

Now as an Orleans Parish Sheriff, Hutson will oversee the Orleans Justice Center, the 1,438-bed jail which currently houses 914 inmates who were mostly violent felony suspects with long rap sheets.

The jail has been under a federal consent decree for many years due to previous failures to ensure the health and safety of all the inmates. Huston hopes to improve the jail's condition and ultimately move past the decree.

Hutson will also lead the sheriff's office's deputies and other command staff which has been suffering from understaffing due to job challenges and low wages.

Moreover, Hutson said she will continue what she has started during her campaign for the sheriff position and that is listening to the public and being transparent.