VERMILION PARISH, La. (KLFY)– As three candidates face off to be the next sheriff of Vermilion Parish, the current sheriff said he is retiring after 20 years of service. 

The name Mike Couvillon is no stranger in Vermilion Parish — serving in law enforcement for 42 years and 20 of them being sheriff. The time has come for him to pass the torch. 

“I always put my men first because when you put your life on the line, there’s not enough money to make you do this,” Couvillon said. “You have to do it because you love it, and you want to do it.” 

Couvillon took his position with the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office in 2004. He said, as his fifth term is coming to an end, he hopes to finish his 20-year plan.

“We had a 20-year plan, and if God is willing, we’re going to finish that plan and walk away with a smile on our face and say we gave 100 percent to Vermilion Parish.” 

Couvillon earned many achievements over the years, like being the first Vermilion Parish sheriff to be inducted in the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. He was also the second sheriff of Vermilion Parish to be elected and serve as president of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. 

Couvillon said, over the years, he has learned many lessons. 

“You have to be able to work with people and understand people,” Couvillon said. “Now, I made plenty of mistakes as sheriff by speaking and not listening. To be a great sheriff, you have to listen and then speak.” 

Couvillon shared a message for the candidates running to be the next sheriff of the parish.

“Prepare yourself and be ready to be able to say no when someone asks for something because you can’t give everybody everything,” Couvillon said. “Be patient with your employees.” 

“I’m actually praying for the next sheriff that wins because he’s going to have a rough road ahead of him,” he added.

Couvillon said he is excited about retirement and enjoying the simple things in life, like spending time with his family.