WALKER – The Walker Police Department beefed up its ranks Monday when the City Council approved the hiring of five reserve officers and a part-time officer.
The council also approved Chief David Addison’s recommendation to promote Cpl. Terry Sanders to sergeant.
“Our reserves are down,” Addison told the council, and his department had no part-time officers.
Additional manpower is needed for special functions and to help full-time officers, he said.
“Cpt. Sanders has discharged his duties with excellence,” the police chief said in recommending the promotion.
Sanders, who has more than 25 years with the department, also worked for the LSU Police Department, state Department of Public Safety and state Probation and Parole Office.
Robert Ardoin, a resident of Livingston with 28 years of experience in law enforcement, was approved as a part-time officer.
Addison said Ardoin retired from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office in 2013 and had experience as a detective investigating burglaries, thefts and homicides.
“I was the night supervisor for 14 years for the Sheriff’s Office,” Ardoin said. “We helped Walker (police) and Walker helped us.”
The five reserve officers approved were: Seth Dillon, Harris Reams Jr., Jonathan Sicard, Jonathan Spiers and Wayne “Ryan” Martin.
The prospective officers, who included some Walker High graduates and lifelong city residents, gave strong endorsements for living in the city when they addressed the council.
“Walker has been good to me,” said Reams, a 1971 WHS graduate who has lived his entire life on the same street in the city.
A Livingston Parish school system bus driver, he serves as a chaplain for the Police Department and is a pastor at two churches.
“I’ve been looking forward to coming home for seven years,” said Spiers, a 2009 WHS graduate who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
In his last three years on active duty, Spiers said he served on the security detail at the U.S. Embassy in West Africa, Greece and Colombia.
Besides learning skills that mirror a police officer’s training, Spiers said being on embassy duty required him to “learn to be diplomatic with people.”
Dillon has a background in fire departments, working as a firefighter operator with departments in Denham Springs, Albany and Independence. He also has completed the EMT basic course.
Martin, employed as the city mechanic by Walker, is a former instructor with the American Taekwondo Association.
Sicard worked as a reserve officer in Walker from 2013-15, and is employed by Bell Mechanical Services.
The police chief said the reserve officers will attend the Reserve Academy run by the Sheriff’s Office and all of them had passed the Matrix, polygraph, drug screen and physical tests.
With the exception of Martin, the council voted 5-0 to approve the officers. Martin was approved on a 3-2 vote, with councilmen David Clark, Richard Wales and Gary Griffin voting yes and councilmen Eric Cook and Scarlett Milton Major voting no.
Neither Cook nor Major gave reasons for their no vote.
The council also recognized the 10-year-old Biddy Basketball team that won the national championship in New Orleans, its second consecutive title.
One of the coaches, Jermaine Rushton, announced Walker will host the state 11-year-old Biddy Basketball State Championship next year.
In other business, two ordinances were introduced to purchase four vehicles and to put back in the city budget funds for a building at Sidney Hutchinson Park.
The council also approved a resolution urging Congress to pass legislation allowing states to tax Internet purchases.