City of Gonzales, Gonzales Police and Fire Depts. show support for Ascension Parish hero
City of Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Chief of the City of Gonzales Police Department Sherman Jackson were among of hundreds of visitors paying their respects to Shreveport Police Officer Thomas LaValley at his wake on Aug. 10. LaValley, a 29 year-old St. Amant native, was killed in the line of duty on Aug. 5 when answering a call about a suspicious person.
Both Mayor Arceneaux and Chief Jackson met with Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw and members of departments from as far away as New York and Chicago who had come to show their support and their respect.
“It’s incredibly moving to see all of these men and women coming to our area to pay their respects for a fellow officer,” Arceneaux said. “When you speak to them, there was no hesitation in their coming here. They heard that one of their own had been killed, and they just came. That’s respect.”
“Law enforcement is a brotherhood,” Jackson said. “When one of our own dies, the entire law enforcement community feels that pain. As a Chief, it’s something you pray you will never have happen under your watch. Seeing this outpouring of support is overwhelming, but expected in this line of work. But even though, it’s expected, I’ll never get used to just how powerful a statement it makes to law enforcement as a whole.”
Members of the City of Gonzales Police Department’s Honor Guard were also at the funeral home to watch over the coffin until the procession began to take LaValley to his final resting place at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
Motors Officers and Patrol Units fell into line as the procession began. The Gonzales Fire Dept. displayed a large American flag for LaValley’s body, his family, friends and the entire procession to drive under along Airline Highway, where the Gonzales Police Dept. lined in full salute.
“Public Safety is a career path that we all take incredibly seriously,” said District Chief Preston Landry. “We show our support for all public servants, as we’re a family. We will always continue to honor the fallen for they are the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”