By Kevin Shannahan
The Natchitoches Events Center was packed this New Year’s Eve as the Ladies for Law Enforcement hosted the 5th annual Law Enforcement Ball. The popular event featured socializing, drinks and dancing to a variety of tunes from a local deejay. Law Enforcement members, their families and supporters from throughout the parish were joined by District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington, Sheriff Victor Jones and several members of the Natchitoches Fire Department.
The idea for the ball came after the tragic death of NPSO Deputy Ricky Issac. His name was placed in the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. with a contingent from the NPSO travelling down to witness the event. The annual ball is a way to raise funds for the uniforms, travel and equipment for the NPSO Honor Guard. The members of the honor guard participate in many local events, but their most important function is to attend funerals, especially those of members of law enforcement. It is a tangible way to let the family know that their loved one is not forgotten.
The Ladies for Law Enforcement is a 501c3 nonprofit that “strives to strengthen the public relationship with law enforcement. It aims to help law enforcement with encouragement, positive perspective, emotional and monetary support when necessary.” Tonight’s ball certainly fulfilled their mission. After Akilah Issac performed a superb rendition of the National Anthem and Rev. Billy Shugart led the invocation, the group presented a $7,500.00 check to the NPSO Honor Guard and a $1,000.00 check to the Ricky Issac Memorial Scholarship at Northwestern State University. That donation is particularly noteworthy in that it pushed the scholarship funds over the $10,000.00 amount needed to become an endowed scholarship. That means there will always be a young person from the parish being assisted in his or her schooling at NSU. Lt. Jason Sanders of the Louisiana State Police Troop E presented Trooper Mark O’Brien with the Trooper of the Year Award for Troop E. NPSO Assistant Chief Jesse Taitano recognized the deputies on the parish’s SWAT team and Drug Task Force. After the program, the assembly greeted the new year with music and dancing.
The NPJ is donating tonight’s event photography. Photo protection has been turned off and downloading and sharing enabled. You may download all you wish without charge. If you do see a photograph you want, please consider a donation to this worthy cause in lieu of payment.