Sheriff Mike Couvillon hands Sgt. Kim Verret her retirement plaque. Also in the photo are Col. Kirk Frith (right) and Major Darryl LeBlanc.
Sheriff Mike Couvillon hands Lt. Joann Hargrave Housden her retirement plaque. Also in the photo are Col. Kirk Frith (right) and Major Darryl LeBlanc.
Two Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s deputies with combined 51 years experience are retiring
Due to retirement, the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office is losing two deputies, who have more than 51 years of combined experience.
Saying goodbye to the Sheriff’s Office are Detective Sgt. Kim Verret and Detective Lt. Joann Hargrave Housden.
Housden’s final day was Dec. 31 of 2017, and Verret’s final day is Saturday.
Verret has more than 19 years of service. She began her career in law enforcement with the Sheriff’s Office in 1998 as a dispatcher, was later promoted to a corrections officer and then left the Sheriff’s Office for a short period where she worked at U.L.L. as a patrol officer and then returned in 2002 as a Detective Sergeant, having served in that capacity for over 15 years to date.
Verret serves on the Louisiana Homicide Investigators Association and the Louisiana Juvenile Officers Association, where she plans to remain active.
Her work for 15 years as a detective was primarily investigating and solving crimes, but over the years her interest evolved into investigating juvenile crimes, where she often became the point person for juvenile based crimes.
When asked what was most difficult for her over the years as a law enforcement officer Verret said without hesitation, “It was losing and burying a fellow deputy, it affects you forever. Besides that, for me the difficult times were never about one particular case or event, it was any time I felt I could not make an immediate difference to help a victim of a crime and on the opposite side of the statement, the self reward and sense of accomplishment I felt when I could bring good news to a victim, always made the job make perfect sense.”
Verret closed by saying that she had a great career, thanking former Sheriff Ray LeMaire for hiring her and Sheriff Mike Couvillon for the opportunity to continue her career and to be part of such a great team, cherishing the many friends she has made along the way and inside the “thin blue line family”.
Detective Lieutenant Joann Hargrave Housden has more than 32 years of service with the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office.
She began her career in 1985 as a dispatcher, was promoted numerous times to include being promoted to Assistant Evidence Custodian and later to Evidence Custodian, promoted again as the first ever certified Crime Scene Investigator for VPSO and also the second officer in the state of Louisiana to be certified as a voice stress analyzer and finally promoted once more in 2004 to Detective Lieutenant, which is second in command of the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division, the first female deputy at VPSO to hold that position.
When asked what was her most difficult time was being a law enforcement officer for 32 years, she also said that it was having to bury a fellow deputy.
“It tests every fiber of strength in you for a very long time,” Housden said. “Beyond that tragedy, I think these jobs have a lot of everyday challenges and hardships like working nights, weekends and holidays away from family, that in itself is a huge struggle. Aside the everyday struggles, the feeling of not being able to do more after you have done everything possible to help someone is very difficult and is something you have to deal with and overcome in these types of jobs. Although the job is difficult and the hardships real, the job becomes worth it ten times over each time you can make a difference in someone’s life when they absolutely need it. It’s a feeling that trumps all the hardships every time.”
She also thanked LeMaire for hiring her many years ago and Sheriff Couvillon for allowing her the opportunity to continue her law enforcement career and education.
Sheriff Mike Couvillon presented both soon to be retirees with a plaque recognizing their years of service to the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“It has always been very difficult to see an employee leave the Sheriff’s Office regardless if it’s to seek other opportunities or by retirement because in affect we kind of lose track of one of our friends, a member of our team and part of our family, it’s never easy,” said Couvillon. “I thank both of these deputies for the many years of service they have given to the Sheriff’s Office and the residents of Vermilion Parish and I wish both of them the very best in whatever their next chapter brings.”
Col. Kirk J Frith, said, “I echo what the Sheriff said about being difficult to turn the page and not see these two deputies day in and day out on the job. It’s always hard to lose the type of experience we are losing now, over 51 years of it, but we have a great and capable young team eager to fill those shoes. I wish both of you the very best of luck whether it is to enjoy retirement with family or a desire to continue serving the public on a different capacity. I especially want to make note of the last line engraved on your plagues ... “May You Retire From The Sheriff’s Office … But NEVER Retire From Being Our Friend”.