Baton Rouge City Constable Reginald Brown Sr. said his deputies had been telling him that they were being honored by organizations around the city for their community service efforts — but not by their own office.
“They said, ‘It’d be nice if we could recognize our own,’” Brown said. “That was just a buzzword that started it going.”
That idea for recognizing deputies came alive Saturday night when the Constable’s Office hosted its inaugural Appreciation Banquet at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel downtown.
“Our deputies are so vitally important — the reserves and the regulars,” Brown said in an interview after the ceremony. “They make this office operate. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to function every day.”
Special awards were given to outstanding deputies, while all deputies were honored with certificates of appreciation.
Representatives from each division in the office served on a committee that selected award winners, Brown said.
“I didn’t even attend the meeting,” Brown joked.
Brown, in his remarks during the ceremony, gave a brief history lesson about the Constable’s Office, noting that it was Baton Rouge’s primary law enforcement agency in the 1800s.
The Constable’s Office serves as the executive officer of the Baton Rouge City Court. Its duties include garnishment collections, evictions, seizures and warrant execution.
“Tonight, these people that you will see that will come before you that we will present awards to tonight, have been the keeper of the stables of this parish, of this city,” Brown said.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, the ceremony’s keynote speaker, repeatedly reminded the deputies about working with a servant mentality.
“As long as you have that servant heart and that servant mentality, you will do fine in law enforcement,” he said. “The biggest gratification any of us get is knowing when we help somebody.”
Gautreaux praised Brown and the Constable’s Office for hosting the ceremony to honor the office’s employees.
“You know as well as I do, if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are,” Gautreaux said to Brown.
Michael Joseph Jackson was named reserve deputy of the year, while Cpl. Rhea Davis was recognized as jail deputy of the year.
Judicial enforcement deputy of the year honors went to Cpl. Marcus Politz, while Cpl. Shirlena Ruffin earned DARE deputy of the year recognition.
Cpl. Thomas Flynn was named court services deputy of the year. Wanda Thomas was singled out as civilian employee of the year.
The Constable’s Office honored Broadmoor High School and Cortana Mall, as well as volunteer Khiet Ngo, for their volunteer support of the office.
The “Extra Mile” award went to Don Hogan, a reserve deputy whom Brown said apprehended an armed robbery suspect one night after hearing about the robbery on his radio.
Hogan held the suspect in custody until police arrived, Brown said.
Supervisor of the year went to Sgt. John Carr, a seven-year veteran of the Constable’s Office who oversees the office’s DARE program and community services division.
Carr called the award a “blessing” of a reward for doing a job he said he loves.
“I’m glad they did it,” he said of the ceremony. “Now we can have something to add on to our tradition.”