Knights of Columbus honors law and order

Lisa Yates @Lisa_editor
Corporal Randy Clouatre, Jr. of the Gonzales Police Department; Senior Trooper Tim Moise of the La. State Police; and, Deputy Larry Gunnes of the Sheriff’s Office, receive honors at St. Theresa of Avila Knights of Columbus Council 2657’s 38th Annual Law Enforcement Banquet, Sept. 25, in Gonzales.

The St. Theresa of Avila Knights of Columbus Council 2657 recognized three outstanding law enforcement officers at its 38th Annual Law Enforcement Banquet Sept. 25.

Tim Moise was chosen outstanding State Trooper working in Ascension Parish.

Deputy Larry Gunnes was named outstanding officer from the Sheriff’s Office.

Corporal Randy Clouatre, Jr. was named outstanding officer from the City of Gonzales Police Department.

Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux attended the ceremony with other area officials, including Sheriff Jeff Wiley, Parish President Tommy Martinez, State Rep. Johnny Berthelot, Police Chief Sherman Jackson, Parish Councilman Randy Clouatre, City Councilman Kenny Matassa, and Assistant District Attorney Jason Verdigets.

“This is one of my favorite events as a former law enforment official and two time recipient of this award,” said the mayor. “It’s so good for the Knights of Columbus to do this. To bring out awareness of law enforcement and present this award is a wonderful thing. It’s always a good evening and one of the best things the Knights do throughout the year.”

Assistant Attorney General Kurt Wall attended as the guest speaker, praising the law enforcement honorees as “shining examples of leaders.”

Wall said his office works closely with law enforcement officials in two main areas.

“Our two biggest investigative units are our fugitive unit and our high-tech unit,” he said.

He said a lot of the high-tech cases involve investigating and prosecuting “filth – the pornography of children.”

Wall shared his experience prosecuted the case against Scott Thomas Massey, a Houma man with videos of himself sexually assaulting young boys.

“He was convicted and is serving 99 years now,” he said.

Sheriff Wiley introduced special guests Scott Marshall, Lenard Cooper and Justin Weaver – three police sergeants visiting from Moore, Oklahoma.

On May 20, a category EF5, the strongest tornado on record, hit Moore, Oklahoma, destroying homes, businesses, hospials and schools. Sheriff Wiley sent a team of deputies from Ascension Parish to aid in the relief effort there.

“I was so impressed with what I saw there,” he said. “Hundreds of volunteers – old and young – coming out, rebuilding Moore, Oklahoma.”

Later in the evening, the visiting sergeants presented Sheriff Wiley with a special badge and knife in appreciation for his work in Moore, Oklahoma.

The three area award recipients received high praise from their commanding officers, as well as a plaque honoring his selection as officer of the year.

Lt. John King of La. State Police described Senior Trooper Moise as “a solid employee and an asset to my team.”

Wiley named two specific cases which illustrated why Gunness was chosen as Officer of the Year. He said the first involved a domestic disturbance where the deputy learned there were stolen items in the back of a car.

“His work led to the recovery of thousands of dollars worth of stolen items,” said the sheriff.

The second case also involved a domestic disturbance, according to Wiley.

“As it turned out, the suspect had barricaded himself with a firearem and threatened suicide,” he said.

The sheriff said Deputy Gunness established rapport with the suspect and he handed the weapon over without incident.

Chief Jackson praised Clouatre as a seven-year veteran with the Gonzales Police Department who had 17 years of experience in law enforcement.

Jackson said not only does Clouatre supervise the SWAT team, but he also oversees the budget and manages the crisis response plan for the department.

“He has taken on many varied duties within the department and has proven himself to be a true leader,” said the chief.