A Bossier Sheriff’s Office deputy undergoing training at the Sheriff’s Office police academy received a big honor this week when he was promoted to the highest enlisted rank in the U.S. Army.
Deputy Verdis Walker, a recruit in Class 022 of the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Training Academy, was promoted March 4 in front of all his fellow police academy recruits and fellow National Guard Soldiers to the rank of command sergeant major in the Louisiana National Guard, 773rd Military Police Battalion, located in Alexandria, Louisiana.
“This has been a work in progress for several years, so I’m pretty blessed and honored that I’m being able to be pinned today,” said an excited Walker.
“This is great, it’s outstanding,” exclaimed Assistant Chief Bruce Teutsch, who oversees all training with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office. “He’ll be able to bring his expertise from the military to integrate it with ours, and the same, we’ll take ours and we’ll integrate with them, just to form a better state, a better police force in the state, just to help our citizens in every way.”
Walker, a 1984 Haughton High School graduate, enlisted in the La. National Guard in May 1989. He started out in the Army band here in Bossier City and moved into the Recruit Sustainment Program to help new recruits prepare for basic training. He deployed to Bagdad, Iraq, with the 39th Military Police out of Camp Minden. For his service in Iraq, he was awarded the Bronze Star, quite the prestigious honor.
While Walker has three decades of service with the La. National Guard, he has just a year of service with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office. The 54-year-old father of two decided to join the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, and while he’s used to making others do push-ups, he’s now on the receiving end of getting those orders.
While most promotion ceremonies are held during drill weekend or at military functions, the leadership of the Louisiana National Guard traveled here to northwest Louisiana to conduct the special ceremony in front of his family, friends, and nearly 20 of Walker’s classmates in the police academy. When Walker spoke to the group, he was emotional when he talked about having his mom and dad, Margaret Walker-Davis and Willie Davis, at the ceremony. His dad, he said, was his “soft side,” a hard worker, and his “tough side,” that comes from his mama, he said in a more stern note.
The short break from recruit training allowed Walker to briefly change from his black pants/gray shirt in the academy to don his Army Combat Uniform to conduct the ceremony. Being a Soldier, the “Top Cop” in the Louisiana National Guard, to becoming a deputy with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office is something Walker cherishes.
“I’ve been serving the state and serving my country for the past 30 years,” he said. “Being a sheriff’s deputy was another opportunity to be able to serve my country and serve my community. I love Bossier Parish, I love growing up here, and this is giving me another way to continue to serve.”
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington has been impressed with Walker’s leadership, even before he became a deputy.
“I got to know him through his working with us while he was activated with his National Guard duties. He is a great guy, very professional, and there’s no telling what he’s going to end up doing. We are thankful to have him join our team, and I congratulate him on his prestigious promotion.”
Assistant Chief Teutsch has been equally as impressed with Walker’s leadership.
“Deputy Walker…with his work ethic, with his commitment, with his passion, with his integrity…when you get around him…it just oozes off him. You want to aspire to be like him,” Chief Teutsch said.
“I watch the young recruits that are here, and they look up to him and they try to figure out what he’s got, because he’s got something very special being a member of our military, the United States Army and being a Bossier deputy,” continued Chief Teutsch. “It’s just great.”
Walker was a first sergeant for a few years, quite an honorable pay grade in the senior enlisted ranks. Now to not only be promoted to sergeant major, but also to lead in an extra capacity as a command sergeant major, is something Walker takes very seriously. And he’s looking forward to sharing his military experience with the Sheriff’s Office.
“Being older in the academy and being able to share some of my experiences, not just here in the state of Louisiana but throughout the world on some of the missions that I’ve done…to help people grow, that’s what it’s all about, sharing the knowledge and being able to help people grow,” Walker emphasized.
Once the speeches were completed, the cake cut, and hugs were done, it was time for Walker to remove his uniform of command sergeant major and become a recruit once more in the Sheriff’s training academy. But it’s only for a short while longer, since his class is due to graduate on April 24. But every step along the way is one of setting a good example, said Walker, a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Sergeant Major Academy in El Paso, Texas.
“You want to be positive, you want to be a good example, you want to set the right example, and you want to be a good leader,” Walker said. “And at the end of the day that’s what I’m all about. I’m here to be a good leader and to be a good mentor, and again serve my country and serve my community, and when it’s all said and done not to just be a good command sergeant major, but to be a good Bossier Parish Sheriff’s officer.”