GPD honors Bourque as first female Peace Officer

STAFF REPORT @WeeklyCitizen
Gonzales Councilman Kenny Matassa, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, Sergeant Gary Ferrari, Officer Walter Taylor and Gonzales Chief of Police Sherman Jackson are seen with Mary Tallion Bourque.

The Gonzales City Police Department honored Mary Tallion Bourque with a Distinguished Service Award from by Police Chief Sherman Jackson on Monday, Feb. 9 at the City Council meeting at City Hall.

Bourque was the first female Peace Officer for the department, beginning her career in 1967, and serving under her husband, then Town Marshall, Leslie “Red” Bourque.

Chief Jackson said it is his privilege to recognize Bourque’s dedication to the department at a time when the force was a mainly male dominated environment.

“I honor Mary (Bourque) with a Distinguished Recognition Award, one to be given to her and one proudly displayed at the City of Gonzales Police Department,” Chief Jackson said. “We thank you not only for your time served, Mary, but also for being an example to women that roles can be reversed and successes can be achieved. You were and are a trail blazer whose exemplary commitment to the city and to women’s rights remains a shining beacon.”

Bourque began her career as a fully commissioned officer in 1967, working as a school crossing guard at both St. Theresa and East Ascension High School.

Her certificate read that she was honored for: “exceptionally distinguished service while serving as the first ever female Peace Officer for the City of Gonzales Police Department. In 1967, after the urging of her husband, Town Marshall Leslie “Red” Bourque, Mary Bourque completed the training required to join the Gonzales Police Department. She served her time as a school crossing guard within the Gonzales community, and paved the way for women to be welcomed into a predominately male working environment. She was responsible for the safety of numerous city children and the giving of tickets within school zones. Mary Bourque’s performance exceeded all expectations and requirements of an officer of her grade. Her actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of law enforcement service and reflect distinct credit upon herself and the Gonzales Police Department.”

A framed certificate was given to Bourque, and one will also be on display at the City of Gonzales Police Department building on Cornerview Road.