Lafayette Police Department's newest major, Luranie Richard, said she was overwhelmed with thanks Tuesday night at the Lafayette City-Parish Government council meeting.

It was easily understood as to why when thunderous applause filled the Council Auditorium to congratulate her promotion as Lafayette's first woman, and first African American to earn the rank of major in the history of the Lafayette Police Department.

"As a major with the Lafayette Police Department, I will continue to serve with compassion, integrity and courage," Richard told the City-Parish Council and the throng of fellow law enforcement officers, family and friends. "In my 30 years (in law enforcement), I have grown as a woman, a mother and a police officer."

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft officially announced the commendation and introduced Richard to a standing ovation from dozens of black-uniform-clad officers who attended in support of Richard's promotion to major.

"As a commander she has been thoroughly involved, and engaged, in the community," said Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft. "She began attending community meetings. She began addressing quality-of-life issues."

Richard, who is one of only three majors in the Lafayette Police Department, has taken the reins as a commander in the services division, Craft said.

Richard started working for the Lafayette Police Department in January 1985 as a patrol officer climbing the ranks to investigator in the criminal investigations unit to commander of Precinct 1 of the Hub City's law enforcement.