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East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux accepts an award from the Louisiana Sheriff's Association at the end of his term as association president. At right, is Gautreaux's wife, Suzi Eckert Gautreaux 

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux completed his tenure as the Louisiana Sheriffs Association's 71st president last week.

Just weeks after Gautreaux took office with the statewide association last year, East Baton Rouge Parish was plagued by unprecedented challenges and tragedies in the form of protests, law enforcement killings and historic flooding, a news release said.

“Serving as president of LSA has been the pinnacle of my law enforcement career,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said. “To be selected by my peers to represent the collective office of ‘sheriff’ has been an honor and responsibility comparable to none. And while I had aspirations of doing what I could to help further the goals of LSA, it turns out that I needed the organization more than ever. In my more than 40 years in law enforcement, I have never experienced such difficulties as we did this past summer. But I have also never been a part of such collaboration and cooperation as we have today in large part due to this association.

"I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the overwhelming response of support and personnel through the LSA Task Force," he said. "While our agency personnel might have been stretched and resources exhausted, we instead found ourselves having to turn down offers of support from throughout the state. The prayers and pledges of solidarity from all our sheriffs through the Louisiana Sheriffs Association was and is a tremendous blessing.”

Gautreaux is the first law enforcement official to be elected president of both the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police and of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association. He will continue to serve on Sheriffs Association's Executive Board as immediate past president.

“As law enforcement, I believe we still have many challenges ahead of us. But I have no doubt that we will continue to face them with the same determination and veracity that we have done so far,” Gautreaux said. “By fostering partnerships and dialogue not only with one another but with the community as a whole, we can continue to set an example for law enforcement relations across the nation.”

The association honored Gautreaux with an award last week for "distinguished leadership, steadfast courage, devotion to duty and unbounded dedication to the ideals of Louisiana’s chief law enforcement officers," the release said.

Gautreaux passed the torch to incoming association president Vermillion Parish Sheriff Mike Couvillon.

Gautreaux began his more than 40-year law enforcement career working for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office in 1976. In 1980, he was elected chief of police in Baker, where he served for 27 years before resigning to run for sheriff. As Baker police chief, Gautreaux was elected to office seven times and ran unopposed for the last four terms. Gautreaux was elected sheriff in 2007. In 2014, he was unanimously elected chairman of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, graduated from the FBI National Academy and was inducted in the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was the first law enforcement recipient of the Brotherhood Sisterhood Award.

Gautreaux is married to Suzi Eckert Gautreaux, and they have four children and 10 grandchildren.