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CFA Recognizes Statewide Leaders in Law Enforcement

Sep 23, 2020 05:35PM ● By News Desk
Lafayette, LA, Sept. 22, 2020 – Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) celebrated its inaugural Leaders in Law Enforcement Awards Luncheon on Thurs., Sept. 10, 2020, at City Club in River Ranch. The 2020 honorees are the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department and the 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of St. John the Baptist Parish.  

The intent of this new award is to bolster morale, increase respect for public service, acknowledge improvements in operations and encourage extraordinary performance among Louisiana’s sheriff’s departments and district attorney’s offices. These awards are designed to honor those departments who are making the most impact in their communities with the resources they have been allocated. Each department received a $25,000 award to be used at their discretion to improve operations and continue to encourage extraordinary performance and implement meaningful programs. This year’s awards were underwritten by the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation. 
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Department was recognized for its Deputies Making a Change (DMAC) Program, initiated to address the incarceration and school dropout rate among vulnerable male youth in Ouachita Parish. DMAC services male students ages 9-18 by offering support in academics, future planning, hygiene, money management, healthy lifestyle regimens, life skills, college and career readiness, and problem-solving. DMAC addresses the need for strong mentors in a positive environment, educational support and improving behavior. Over the last 12 years, DMAC has directly impacted more than 5,000 students and has a 98 percent graduation success rate. 
The 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of St. John the Baptist Parish was recognized for implementing impactful opportunities for those most at risk. Opportunity Now, a collaboration with the Louisiana Workforce Commission, XP Synergy and LA Rehabilitation Services, has provided more than 100 low-risk, nonviolent, first-time offenders the opportunity to receive life skills and work readiness training to divert them out of the criminal justice system. Since the program’s inception in May 2015, only three graduates have re-offended. St. John P.R.O.U.D., a proactive crime prevention program, focuses on providing young adults with life-changing  employment opportunities to deter them from embarking on a life of crime. District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut recognizes the positive impact that education, combined with meaningful opportunities, can have on a person’s life. According to Dinvaut, in many instances, criminal activity becomes an economic opportunity for young adults that are not employed or in school. She wholeheartedly believes that crime prevention, restorative justice and rehabilitation programs are vital to public safety and investing in the future of St. John the Baptist Parish. 
Community Foundation of Acadiana is honored to present these law enforcement awards to such deserving programs. We are looking forward to making this an annual event. The 2021 application process will begin in March. All sheriff’s departments and district attorney’s offices from around the state are invited and encouraged to apply.    

Cover Photo: 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of St. John the Baptist Parish, from left to right: President of the Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Edwin F. Hunter, District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut and CFA CEO Raymond Hebert.

Photo (Below): Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Department, from left to right: Cpl. Marvin McFarland, Lt. Eric McElroy, CFA CEO Raymond Hebert, Sheriff Jay Russell, Dep. Kenneth Tramble, Capt. Buddy Aulds and Molly Hill.

Photos by Kelly Morvant Photography