Officers will 'work and walk' on graduation day
Contact: Christina Chapple
OFFICERS AMONG SOUTHEASTERN GRADS – Southeastern Louisiana University Police Department personnel who be among the more than 1,250 students receiving degrees on Saturday, Dec. 8, are, from left, Sgt. Brandon LeBlanc, Officer Jeremy Price, and Detective Sgt. Denis “Trey” Indest.
HAMMOND – Detective Sgt. Denis “Trey” Indest and Sgt. Brandon LeBlanc will begin Saturday, Dec. 8, as they have any other graduation day at Southeastern Louisiana University. They will be on duty with their fellow University Police Department officers, directing the traffic outside and the crowds inside the University Center.
But as the 10 a.m. starting time for the fall 2007 commencement ceremony draws near, the officers will exchange their uniforms for caps and gowns and join the procession of graduates jubilantly filing into the UC arena.
Officer Jeremy Price will already be in line with the other members of the Class of 2007. He took UPD Director Mike Prescott up on his offer – an offer also made to Indest and LeBlanc – of the day off.
While working commencement is normally mandatory for the entire 26-man campus police force, “I gave these guys a choice to work or not. It’s not everyday that three of my officers earn their bachelor’s degree,” said Prescott.
Indest and Price are receiving degrees in criminal justice, while LeBlanc's degree is in general studies.
“I have two clans of family coming in,” explained Price about his decision not to work on Saturday. “I’m the first man in my family to graduate from college, so it is quite important to them. My dad flew in from work all the way from New Guinea just for my graduation.”
“I’m going to walk and work,” said LeBlanc. “I’ll stay at my post until about 9 a.m. and then I’m going to run inside. They said they would hold my spot for me.” Indest, who will already be stationed on the arena floor, also plans to “fall in” at the appropriate time to join the graduation march.
A 1997 graduate of Slidell High School, Indest is a police investigator-video investigator with the UPD. Serving in the Louisiana National Guard, he was sent to Afghanistan from August 2003 until May 2004, where he was a squad leader in a combat engineering battalion. He joined the UPD in 2002 and has previously been assigned as a housing officer, patrol officer, and bike officer. He and his wife of three years, Southeastern graduate Brooke G. Todd, are expecting their first child in February.
LeBlanc was raised in Norco and graduated from Destrehan High School. Currently a night supervisor, he joined the UPD in 1999 and has served as a housing officer, patrol officer, and bike officer.
“I’m the old guy of the group,” he said, laughing. “I actually started here in 1994. I went a couple of semesters, became came a resident assistant for housing and worked my way up to being a resident manager. When I got on with the police department, I decided needed to take a little break from school. Then I decided that, since I’m so close to graduating, I should go ahead and finish up.”
Price, a graduate of Buras High School, joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1999 and enrolled at Southeastern in 2000. An active student, he was a member of Theta Chi fraternity, president of the Student Senate in 2001-02 and Student Government Association president 2002-03.
He served two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corp and left the Marines as a sergeant. He joined the UPD in 2006 and serves as a housing officer and patrol officer.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Prescott. “They have worked hard, they were diligent, put in extra hours to cover their time while they had to go to class. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
“The UPD has been very, very understanding with the guys here pursuing degrees,” Indest said. “They’ve worked around our class schedules a good bit. I’m really appreciative of that.”
Prescott is also proud that half of his force, including himself, has already taken the walk across the University Center stage to receive Southeastern degrees.
Southeastern graduates in the UPD include Prescott, Brandi Rogers, Patrick Gipson, Edith Evans, William Smith, Anthony Fobb, Tiffany Chavers, Jay Bezue, Scott Huff, Chris Durham, Tyler Simpson, and Bridget Kennedy. Erica Walker and April Smith are currently working toward degrees.
“I totally encourage my officers to attend college and get their degree to move forward,” he said. “It can do nothing but better them in life and in their career.”