Ascension Parish community photo gallery for Feb. 19, 2015 _lowres

Photo provided by Charlotte Guedry -- Attending a Feb. 9 ceremony honoring Gonzales' first female peace officer, Mary Bourque, seated, were, from left, Gonzales Councilman Kenny Matassa, Mayor Barney Arceneaux, Sgt. Gary Ferrari and Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson. Bourque was honored during a City Council meeting in Gonzales.

Gonzales officials have honored Mary Tallion Bourque for being the first female peace officer in the city.

Bourque, who began her career in 1967, received the Distinguished Recognition Award Feb. 9 from Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson.

Bourque served in her husband’s administration, then Town Marshall Leslie “Red” Bourque.

Jackson said Mary Bourque was dedicated to the department at a time when the force was a mainly male-dominated environment.

“Today, it is my privilege to recognize the many years of service that Mary Bourque brought to the city of Gonzales and its police force. I honor Mary with a Distinguished Recognition Award, one to be given to her and one proudly displayed at the City of Gonzales Police Department,” Jackson said.

“On behalf of the City of Gonzales Police Department, we thank you not only for your time served, Mary, but also for being an example to women that roles can be reversed and successes can be achieved. You were and are a trailblazer whose exemplary commitment to the city and to women’s rights remains a shining beacon.”

She began her career as a fully commissioned officer in 1967, working as a school crossing guard at both St. Theresa Catholic and East Ascension High schools.

Her certificate said Bourque was receiving it for “exceptionally distinguished service while serving as the first ever female Peace Officer for the City of Gonzales Police Department.

“She served her time as a school crossing guard within the Gonzales community, and paved the way for women to be welcomed into a predominately male working environment,” according to the certificate. “She was responsible for the safety of numerous city children and the giving of tickets within school zones. Mary Bourque’s performance exceeded all expectations and requirements of an officer of her grade. Her actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of law enforcement service and reflect distinct credit upon herself and the Gonzales Police Department.”