Rep. Hodges honors Louisiana’s Heroes in Blue for National Police Week and Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police Day at the Capitol

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

State Representative Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, welcomed members of the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police (LAFOP) and other state and local law enforcement agencies to the State Capitol today, with House Resolution 188, and a dedication to officers from Louisiana recently killed in the line of duty. 

May 10 is the annual designated date for Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police Day at the State Capitol.   Every year the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police requests a resolution in the Louisiana House of Representatives to honor this year's Fallen law enforcement officers and to designate Police Week in Louisiana. Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police President Darrell Basco said, " The Fraternal Order of Police knows that this is an extremely important piece of legislation that will be passed every year through the House of Representatives because it gives recognition to those brave men and women that have paid the ultimate sacrifice by protecting the people they serve by standing guard over that line between peace and chaos." 

This year the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police asked Representative Valerie Hodges to author this resolution. LAFOP President Basco said, "Representative Hodges willingly accepted. Through her hard work and dedication, she was able to obtain more than 63 co-authors prior to the reading of HR 188 and to have in attendance during the reading of HR 188 municipal police officers, sheriff's deputies, chiefs of police, constables, Louisiana State Police troopers, probation and parole agents, Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office investigators, homeland security agents, attorney general investigators and a host of other law enforcement officers to stand in the Capitol as a unified group to honor our fallen brothers and sisters.   This has never been done before at Louisiana’s Capitol." The Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police plans to annually continue this proud tradition in the House of Representatives with the goal to see zero names added to a memorial wall. 

Next week marks National Police Week, and to celebrate, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge in Washington, DC, to participate in Peace Officers’ Memorial Day (May 15), established by President Kennedy in 1962.  National Police Week consists of a number of planned events to honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Louisiana had 454 officers killed in the line of duty as of March 2018, the most recent being Reserve Officer Christopher Michael Lawton of the Zachary Police Department who was killed while working undercover.  Officers Shawn Anderson, Justin Beard, Robert Johnson, Donna LeBlanc, Michael Louviere and Marcus McNeil, who were all killed in the line of duty in 2017, will be recognized by name during the Roll Call of Heroes in DC on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.  Police Chief James Salsbury of the City of Central Police Department along with East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and Lafayette Police Department are escorting the families of Louisiana’s fallen officers to this year’s Memorial in D.C.

HR 188 dedicates May 14-20, 2018, as Police Week in Louisiana, and commends the service of law enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies throughout the state.  In her introduction and dedication, Rep. Hodges said, “These officers are working tirelessly around the clock to keep us safe.  We support them with our prayers, and show our love and appreciation with acts of kindness.  We want them to know they are not alone, we continue to stand with our law enforcement with gratitude for their daily sacrifice.  I feel blessed with the opportunity to honor these men and women here today, as well as our fallen officers, in the House Chamber.  We pray for God’s blessing and protection of not only our law enforcement in Louisiana, but across our country.”

The law enforcement officials present at the Capitol included LAFOP board members such as Deputy Chief Darrell Basco, President, James “Tiger” Folks, 2nd Vice President, Jim Gallagher, Treasure, Dawn Powell, Secretary, Susan Hebert, Sergeant at Arms, and Pete Menkiewicz, Chaplain.  Additional LAFOP members in attendance were Daniel Wright, Donovan Livaccari, Drew Williams, David Dean and Lindsey Zinna.

Other state and local officials honored were Jonathan Kemp, Nicole Barbe and Caleb Kennedy, Troopers from the Louisiana State Police; Chief David McDavid, Ty Stephens and Chad Felps from Zachary PD; Captain Patrick Knab of the Denham Springs Police Department; Chief David Addison, Captain John Sharp and Lt. Deontony Williams of the Walker Police Department; Cpl. Denitra Griffen and Cpl. Rebecca Shrauger from the State Fire Marshal’s Office; Fabian Blache, Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police; Mike Ranatza from the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association; Chief James Stewart and Captain Angelo Monistere, Hammond PD; Lt. Cynthia Canezaro of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office; Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul; Baton Rouge Constable Major Reginald Brown; and Joe Picone, Pat Magee, Randall Gohn, and David Ferris from the Louisiana Department of Justice.

Contributed by La. House of Representatives