GONZALES — Law enforcement officers today are expected to be doctors, social workers, judges, traffic directors and veterinarians, District Attorney Ricky Babin said during a recent banquet honoring area lawmen.
The St. Theresa of Avila Knights of Columbus Council 2547 and four other local councils held the 37th annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet on Sept. 26 in Gonzales.
Master Trooper Samuel Latimer, Gonzales Officer Walter Taylor and Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Lt. Chris Moody were honored for their dedication and commitment to the community.
Babin, with the 23rd Judicial District, praised local law enforcement for its professionalism, high level of training and selfless sacrifices.
“You’re second to none,” he said of the officers, deputies and troopers serving in Ascension Parish.
“Stand your post ... you’re the good guys,” Babin said. “Stick to your training ... and do the right thing and this community will always support you.”
Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley nominated Moody as his department’s Deputy of the Year for his work after a February triple homicide.
Wiley said that February started with Moody’s promotion from sergeant to lieutenant.
“But then, on the 18th of February, the bitterness, the anger, the sorrow that often permeates our careers raised its ugly head and changing lives forever.” Wiley said. “A crime that is so hideous that it strikes fear in every citizen and tests the resolve of all in law enforcement.
Wiley was talking about the slaying of three members of the Marchand family.
“‘Solve the case’ were the only orders I issued that night, for no other order was needed,” he said.
He praised Moody and his team for arresting five men for the crime after 19 days.
Moody started his law enforcement career as a member of the Gonzales Police Department and joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1996. He served as a detective and member of the crisis response team. He was promoted to detective sergeant in 2000.
Gonzales Chief of Police Sherman Jackson called Taylor “a very well-trained and a very active officer.”
Taylor was a member of the department’s Junior Police program and he went on to complete the agency’s Explorer Program. Taylor graduated from East Ascension High School then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp. Taylor began his career with the Gonzales Police Department in August 2007 as a patrol officer, Jackson said.
Taylor works as a field training officer, an honor guard commander, SWAT member, standardized field sobriety instructor, law enforcement prevention and deterrence of terrorist act instructor, a reality-based training instructor and chemical weapons instructor.
In October, Taylor was recognized for the implementation of the department’s In Service Training program, Jackson said.
“Because of Officer Taylor’s work, dedication, commitment and loyalty, the Gonzales Police Department and the Citizens of Gonzales are stronger and safer,” Jackson said.
In his letter of nomination, State Police Capt. Frank Ducote said Latimer has demonstrated “that he is a hard working trooper and fully understands his responsibility as a public servant.”
Sgt. Gerald Varnado read Ducote’s nomination letter and added his words of praise for Latimer, who serves as a trooper in the Ascension Parish area.
“He’s a wizard on that computer,” Varnado said of Latimer’s work in accident reconstruction.
In addition to his regular shift and accident reconstruction duties, Latimer serves as a field training officer and is an informal mentor to new troopers.
“As a result of his hard work, probationary troopers trained by Master Trooper Latimer easily progress to solo status in the required amount of time,” the nomination letter states.
Parish President Tommy Martinez thanked the Knights of Columbus for honoring law enforcement officers, teachers and fire fighters for more than 30 years.
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