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Four law enforcement officers were honored for their bravery, heroism, professionalism and dedication during the 30th annual Knights of Columbus Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet.

Honored at the banquet Sept. 28, were Lt. Randy Lanoux, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office; Officer Martin E. Mapp, Gonzales Police Department; Ryan Guidry, Sorrento Police Department; and Trooper Steve Buratt, Louisiana State Police.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley named Lanoux his department's Deputy of the Year for his efforts after Hurricane Katrina and longtime service to the departmentLanoux led a small contingent of deputies and boats on search-and-rescue operations in New Orleans immediately after Wiley discovered a canal levee had been breeched and water was flooding communities.

"Today, people are trying to blame each other for all that went wrong during and after the hurricane, but these few deputies, Randy Lanoux, Larry Landry, Shane Cannon and Stephen Decoteau, they were right - right in the water by sundown on the very first day and every day thereafter for the next 12 days of operation," Wiley said.

Lanoux, in charge of the parish's waterborne operations, led as many as 100 deputies a day to the flood-ravaged communities around New Orleans. Wiley said Lanoux logged more than 217 hours during a 13-day period after the hurricane.

"He, along with a distinguished flotilla of officers, accounted for the saved lives of not hundreds, but thousands of stranded citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding area," Wiley added.

Lanoux, who now supervises correctional operations at the parish jail, joined the Sheriff's Office in 1997 after serving for 16 years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

Gonzales Chief of Police Bill Landry credited Mapp with saving the life of a shopper who was being choked by a stranger in a local mall parking lot.

Landry recounted the call Mapp responded to on Nov. 20, 2004. After identifying where the screams for help were coming from, Mapp approached a van and "as the side door to the van opened and duty weapon draw, Officer Mapp could clearly see an assailant on top of a female chocking her with both hands," Landry said.

He said Mapp stopped the assailant and saved the woman's life.

Mapp began his career with the Gonzales Police Department in 2001 and works in the department's patrol division. "Officer Mapp strives very hard each day at work and more often than none does more than is required," Landry said. "Martin is always willing to help his fellow officer when the need arises."

Sorrento Chief of Police Earl Theriot honored Guidry as his town's Police Officer of the Year for his dedication.

Guidry started with the Sorrento department in October 2003 as a non-paid reserve officer and joined the department as a full time officer in July 2004.

"This officer set a precedence that few, if any, will ever match," Theriot said. "In a mere 12 months, he has kept his community safe by issuing approximately 300 citations for traffic violations."

Theriot also credited Guidry with more than 50 drug offense arrests, which yielded the department $20,000 in drug assets.

"The most astonishing fact about what I just mentioned is that this officer did most of this while working on his own time for no additional pay," Theriot said. Louisiana State Police Troop A Executive Officer Lt. Tommy Joffrion nominated Buratt of Port Vincent for the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Buratt, a 1997 graduate of St. Amant High School, attended the Louisiana State Police academy in 2002.

Joffrion said Buratt has established a reputation as being energetic, knowledgeable, capable and professional during his three-year stint with State Police. Buratt is a member of the State Police's Mobile Field Force and a volunteer at the departments' Camp Win-A-Friend, a summer camp for disadvantaged youths.

Buratt also has been nominated for the department's Life Saving Award for helping save the life of a police officer's sister who was choking while dining in a local restaurant.

The event was sponsored by St. Theresa Council 2657, Father James Clement Council 6389, St. Mark Council 8147 and St. John the Evangelist Council 8342.
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