St. Charles Herald-Guide

Sheriff Champagne names deputies of the year

By Staff Report - March 1, 2006

2005 was a year, which presented challenges to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office the likes of which we have never seen before.

After reviewing the actions of our deputies throughout the year, it soon became very clear that there could be only one choice for deputy of the year.

As a result of the courage, determination, bravery and integrity by our deputies at all levels, I do hereby name every deputy in the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office as our Deputy of the Year for 2005.

Hurricane Katrina came and hit us with a ferocity that no gang of criminals could match. Employees had to stay behind to protect the lives and property of the people of St. Charles Parish as they said goodbye to family members who evacuated the Parish along with the vast majority of the residents. The possibility early on of what appeared to be a direct hit of a dangerous hurricane in our area was heavy on the minds of all. Deputies began by working around the clock to aid in the massive evacuation of not only St. Charles Parish, but also the surrounding metro area. In the days following, which was occurring in nearby areas. Anxiety was high due to the lack of information as to what was really happening in the devastated parishes to our east. Reports of widespread looting and attacks on law enforcement officers in adjoining areas were reaching our deputies raising the level of concern. Fear also began to spread among the citizens who had remained or returned to the area. In a parish without electricity, fuel, food and communications, our officers continued to man posts and patrol the parish while witnessing the largest peacetime exodus of people from the New Orleans area through St. Charles Parish that had ever occurred. Several members of the department themselves lost homes as a result of the storm, but nevertheless continued undaunted in their dangerous missions, which successfully rescued dozens of people including St. Charles residents from the horrors of the New Orleans Convention Center as well as others stranded in the flood waters nearby. Days were long and sleep was scarce, but we persevered.

After several days, assistance in the form of military and other law enforcement agencies from across North America began to arrive to relieve a sheriff’s department that was mentally and physically exhausted. This was a welcome site, however, deputies would continue to work long hours without a day off for weeks to come.

Our agency also began to assist those agencies in the New Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard area with supplies and reassurance. This was greatly appreciated by our fellow officers in those jurisdictions and helped to raise their morale.

Finally, after several weeks officers were able to take a few precious days off to assist their own families and rest themselves. Our office continues to face challenges in the months following Katrina, however, as before, we are up to the task.

The people of St. Charles Parish have been well served by the members of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office. Congratulations to all of the 2005 Deputies of the Year.

Sheriff Champagne names deputies of the year