THE POST-SIGNAL / Steve Bandy
Law enforcement officials taking part in Monday night’s Police Memorial Service at First Presbyterian Church included, front from left, Sheriff K.P. Gibson, CPD Sgt. Tate Thibodeaux, CP Cpl. Casey Morgan, CPD Cpl. Jeremy Abshire, CPR Cpl. Aaron Bertrand, Chief Jimmy Broussard; second row from left, APSO Sgt. Francis Bergeron, Deputy Crystal Vincent, Deputy Lana Benoit, CPD Lt. Wayne Perry, Lafayette P.D. Cpl. Charles Broussard, CPD Officer Reginald Richard, Marshal Glenn Deville; back row from left, Deputy Nick Simon, APSO Chaplain Gene Lee, Deputy David Hoffpauir, Deputy Stacy Ancelet, Deputy Mike Henry and CPD Officer Mike Hammersky.
Nine area law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty were memorialized during solemn services Monday night at First Presbyterian Church here.
“We’ve been doing this for 10 years or more and, unfortunately, each year we add to the roll,” Police Chief Jimmy Broussard said at the outset of the annual Police Memorial Service, sponsored by the Southwest Louisiana Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).
The event kicked off with a motorcade of marked and unmarked police units from the Crowley Police Department and Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office, along with one unit from the Lafayette Police Department. The vehicles departed from the parking lot at the Acadia Parish Educational Center, drove in front of the police memorial at the police station, then turned left on Fourth Street to end at the church.
Following the Posting of Colors by Crowley Police Color Guard and the opening prayer by Police Chaplain Rev. Peter Joseph, Mayor Tim Monceaux read a proclamation formally designating May 12 - 18 as Police Week and May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in Crowley.
In his proclamation, Monceaux recognized that the members of the local law enforcement agencies — Crowley Police Department and Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office — “play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Crowley.
“The men and women of ... the Crowley Police Department and the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office unceasingly provide a vital public service.
Congress and the President of the United States have designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week “in honor of those law enforcement officers, who, through their courageous deeds, have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their community or have become disabled in the performance of duty.”
Throughout the ceremony, a slide show at the edge of the church altar remembered fallen officers from this area, following the theme: “Remember the Fallen, Thank the Living.”
“Amazing Grace,” played on the accordion by Greg Mouton, and the reading of “The Policeman’s Prayer” by Janet Thompson, daughter of the late Lt. Richard Newman, preceded the Roll Call of Honor presented by Broussard and Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson.
Those memorialized during the service Monday included:
• Patrolman Ezra Foreman - End of Watch May 4, 1959: shot and killed responding to a domestic disturbance call;
• Patrolman Anthony Suire - End of Watch Sept. 6, 1962: killed in an automobile accident during a vehicle pursuit;
• Lt. Richard Earl Newman - End of Watch Feb. 19, 1993: shot and killed by a fellow officer during a drug operation;
• Det. Byron Romero - End of Watch Aug. 9, 2015: suffered a fatal heart attack while investigating the rape of a 5-year-old;
• K9 Rosco - End of Watch March 22, 2017: shot and killed after officers responded to a shooting call in the 400 block of Josey Street;
• Deputy Lester Threatts - End of Watch Oct. 18, 1988: suffered a fatal heart attack while unloading supplies at the parish prison;
• Church Point Chief Wilburt Landry and Patrolman Burleigh Cormier - End of Watch April 21, 1957: both officers were shot and killed while responding a a domestic disturbance; and
• Jennings Patrolman Burton James LeBlanc - End of Watch Feb. 5, 2000: shot and killed after responding to a 911 call at a fellow officers’ residence.
Following “Taps” by Officer Charlie Broussard and the closing prayer by APSO Chaplain Gene Lee, attendees were invited into the Fellowship Hall for refreshments.