OUR VIEW: Best wishes to the new blood
A lot more people are paying attention these days to what happens with police officers and those whom they police.
There are allegations of excessive force, in some cases resulting in death, receiving national attention as they never have before. In some of the most highly publicized cases – such as the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. – neither local nor federal charges emerged.
Charges were brought in Baltimore, where six officers are accused of acts leading to the death of Freddie Gray. The jury is not just out on that one, it has literally not yet been chosen.
Advocates for criminal justice reform and for victims of questionable police action say scrutiny is required as never before. The police are different because they are licensed to take lives when necessary.
Advocates for police officers say margins of error must be allowed. The police are different because they are at great personal risk every day.
We don’t pretend to know where the line should be drawn.
But we do suspect that this must be a difficult time for anyone entertaining a career in law enforcement.
The Louisiana State Police graduated 58 new troopers from its academy last month, seven of whom – Carl Cavalier; Anthony Dorris; Dain Prejean; Oscar Soileau; Richard Verdin; Jesse Vinet and Lawrence Williams – will be working right here, out of Troop C in Gray.
We know they’re proud and we understand if they have concerns about what policing will mean to their individual futures, especially at this time in our nation’s history.
We wish that the communities they serve will be blessed by their fresh approaches and hard work. We wish that the officers themselves have safety and good fortune of all manner as they start their new jobs.
KUDOS TO LOCAL FOR ACHIEVING
The Times would also like to take a little bit of time to send congratulations to Thibodaux-born football standout Trovon Reed for making his NFL dreams come true.
Reed announced this past week that he’d signed a contract to continue his playing career with the Seattle Seahawks.
For Reed, the announcement is the culmination of a life-long career of hard work, dedication and diligence to his craft.
But Reed’s story is also bigger than that and encompasses a larger scale issue that our community should celebrate.
In the Houma-Thibodaux area, our youth sports programs are very well run. They are some of the best programs in the entire state of Louisiana.
The reason for this success is because of the dedication of countless volunteers who give their time and effort to local kids – all while not expecting to receive anything in return.
The success is evident and the proof is in the pudding.
In the past several years, this area has seen Sumar Leslie (featured in this week’s Neighbors’ page) go on and play professional women’s basketball. We’ve also seen Justin Williams be a top-tier MLB draftee. Of course, in the NFL, Big Greg Robinson was the No. 2 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft who had a solid rookie season with the St. Louis Rams.
At the college levels, we have UL-Lafayette and Vandebilt graduate Elijah McGuire, who is making his mark in a big way and is in line to be a future pro. The same can be said for Sumar Leslie’s little brother Lionheart Leslie, who is signed to play at California State-Fullerton, who is going to have a very good opportunity to play basketball in the NBA – or at the very least, overseas.
And then now, we send Reed to professional ball – another example of a young man that we can all be proud of.
Good luck in the future, Trovon – even if you play for the hated Seattle Seahawks.
Your story is one that our entire area is proud of.
God speed, young fellow!