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Bossier deputy named Louisiana Deputy of the Year

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Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington, Dep. James Lonadier, and Gov. John Bel Edwards. (Courtesy of Bossier Sheriff's Office)

A Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy has been named the “Deputy of the Year” by the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, which represents nearly 14,000 deputy sheriffs statewide.

Deputy James Lonadier is a school resource officer at Benton High School, and he was selected for his selfless service and his passion for leading and mentoring the youth of Bossier Parish.  Deputy Lonadier is a retired Deputy Chief from the Bossier City Fire Department and has been a SRO at Benton for two years and has nearly five years of service with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office.

“I really didn’t expect it, but it was quite an honor,” said Dep. Lonadier.  “There are so many deputies who need to be recognized, but I’m real glad to represent the Bossier Sheriff’s Office and the people of Bossier Parish.”

Sheriff Whittington says it’s easy to see why Lonadier was selected.

“Deputy Lonadier is caring and shows compassion as an SRO, and his commitment in working after hours on his own time with the students at ball games and fishing events makes him special,” said Sheriff Whittington.  “You can’t train someone with that, you can’t pay them enough money…they just have to want to do it.”   

As an SRO, Deputy Lonadier goes above and beyond his required duties by volunteering as a Boat Captain for the Benton High School Fishing Team, volunteering for batting practice for the softball team, and attending all extracurricular activities, even when he is not on duty. He is known for his proactive efforts in maintaining a positive rapport with students, parents, and community members.

Dep. James Lonadier meets Gov. Edwards. (Courtesy of Bossier Sheriff’s Office)

“I think putting yourself in the student’s shoes and remembering what it was like it in high school is important,” said Dep. Lonadier.  “You care about them, whether at school or away from school.  You need to be genuinely honest with them, and they can sense when someone is simply going through the motions.”

Superintendent Scott Smith of Bossier Parish Schools says it’s Lonadier’s commitment to keeping the campus safe and building relationships with the students that makes such a difference.

“Deputy Lonadier is the epitome of what one would envision the LSA Deputy Sheriff of the Year being,” Superintendent Smith said.  “As School Resource Officer at Benton High, Deputy Lonadier makes student safety his top priority while, at the same time, building those important relationships and earning their trust. That is critical to fostering a safe campus environment. His efforts go far beyond school hours, though.  Deputy Lonadier invests his personal time sponsoring the school’s fishing club, serving as a positive role model and mentor to teens. This is just one ideal of many he possesses and why we at Bossier Schools are thrilled Deputy Lonadier is being recognized at the state level.”

Deputy Lonadier also goes out of his way to help in times of crisis. Particularly, last year, he spent his own time assisting in locating a pair of runaway twin boys. His relationship with these boys continued after they were found, as he was asked to serve as their mentor in the Camp Minden Youth Challenge Program. This involved not only spending his spare hours mentoring, but also volunteer hours of training before participating in the program, all of which he did without hesitation. This is just one example of Deputy Lonadier’s selfless service and passion for influencing the youth of Bossier Parish. The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association is proud to call him our Deputy of the Year.

Deputy Lonadier was also recognized this week during a trip to Baton Rouge and a visit to the office of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.  He was also recognized on the floor of the Louisiana State Senate and led in his lauding by Senators Ryan Gatti and Barrow Peacock, as well as at the House of Representatives where he his praise was led by Representatives Dodie Horton, Raymond Crews, Gene Reynolds, Tom Carmody, and Jim Morris.  Sheriff Whittington and Michael Ranatza, executive director of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, also accompanied Lonadier during his accolades in Baton Rouge.

While the trip to Baton Rouge was special, Dep. Lonadier’s heart and passion to serve lies right here in Bossier Parish.

“You’re part of the team at Benton High School, and this is a great place,” he said.  “I’m lucky to be here.”

The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association accepts nominations each year from the state’s 64 sheriffs, and the winners are selected by the Sheriffs’ Awards Committee. The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association is honored to highlight the meritorious contributions of Louisiana’s professional deputy sheriffs.

The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association is a bipartisan organization, composed of Louisiana’s 64 sheriffs and nearly 14,000 deputy sheriffs, established to represent Louisiana’s chief law enforcement officers across the state.  The Association’s purpose is to maintain the constitutional authority of the sheriff as chief law enforcement officer, ensure the delivery of first-rate services, and to sponsor legislation that promotes the administration of criminal justice.

“We know all of our deputies are worthy of recognition, but to have Lonadier receive this honor for the entire state of Louisiana speaks highly of our Bossier Sheriff’s Office,” exclaimed Sheriff Whittington.