Denham Springs — The Denham Springs Police Department was sent reeling Tuesday afternoon after one of their own died from injuries sustained in the line of duty.
“We work this stuff every day. We see this stuff every day, but when it’s one of your own people … it’s just hard,” Detective Glenn Lemoine said.
“You try to be a tough guy — you’re a cop — but we’re all human beings.”
They mourned the loss of Officer James Foster, 39, who was hurt in a crash Monday evening and died from his injuries at 3:36 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after he was taken off life support. He is survived by his wife, 19-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son.
Foster had been responding to a wreck about 5:30 p.m. Monday when a driver pulled in front of his motorcycle on O’Neal Lane in Baton Rouge. He struck the vehicle and was thrown from his police Harley-Davidson. He was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where he died.
Foster had graduated from law enforcement motorcycle school only weeks before, though he had experience riding his own Harley, Lemoine said.
The detective remembered Foster as “an all-around great guy. … He was a moral and ethical guy” who was so polite and respectful that even criminals would thank him for treating them kindly.
He also was known for his intellect.
Lemoine remembered seeing Foster’s diary, in which he would invent codes and solve math problems for fun. The formulas were as long as a man’s arm, Lemoine recalled.
Foster was a “very, very smart young man … extremely intelligent,” Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin said.
The officer was “very well-liked by all his peers, and admired,” Durbin continued.
The mayor and detective said Foster was a dedicated officer and family man. The City Council on Tuesday afternoon opened with a prayer in which councilman Arthur Perkins asked God to look over Foster’s family.
Foster was an Army veteran and had been with the department for one year as a reservist and five as an officer, working patrol and drug enforcement.
“He was very good at what he did,” Lemoine said.
Funeral arrangements have not been finalized. The detective said he expects a large turnout from the law enforcement community. Many people already have expressed their grief through social media. Only a few hours after the department announced Foster’s death on its Facebook page, the post had over a thousand responses, with many sharing memories of the officer.
And in the Police Department, the force continues to grieve, Lemoine said.
Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.