On Tuesday, we reported that Lafayette Police Major Luranie Richard retired from the department on Sunday after 36 years on the force. She was the first female precinct commander in department history, and the first woman to attain the rank of Major, the most senior rank below Chief.

Now, Major Richard and her colleagues are reflecting on her career and legacy.

"At the time when I graduated from college, the Opelousas Police Department wasn't hiring," Richard said. "They were in a freeze. So I came to Lafayette and took the civil service exam and passed. I went through the process and got hired."

Major Richard officially joined the Lafayette Police Department on January 9, 1985. At the time, she thought she knew what to expect.

Then came a rude awakening.

"When I first joined the force, I thought it was like television," Major Richard said. "Later on, I found out this is real. You're dealing with real issues and real problems with the community. The training helps you to adjust and handle each situation. It became easier because of the training and the knowledge and getting the understanding (of the job)."

Major Richard described her work as being fair and having integrity.

Lieutenant Ed Washington agrees.

He met Major Richard when he joined the department in 1995.

"She has always been a professional," Lieutenant Washington said. "She's achieved so many firsts, but I knew her before a lot of things had taken place. Even early on when I first met her, she always had a vision for what she wanted to be as a professional police officer and how she wanted to conduct business to service the city of Lafayette."

Lieutenant Washington describes Major Richard as "dedicated," "hard-working," and "God-fearing." He says those traits showed in her work.

"One of the things I vividly remember is when she took over as a precinct commander in north Lafayette and how, basically, she went in and transformed that particular area--getting out (and) meeting the community," Lieutenant Washington said. "A lot of the community walks and things like that started from her dedication to make sure the community was involved in the decisions that were made here in Lafayette."

Chief Thomas Glover joined the Lafayette Police Department in December. He says Major Richard has been instrumental in helping him get acclimated to his new role.

"I appreciate you, Major," Chief Glover said during Tuesday's Lafayette City Council meeting. "Without you, my tenure for 10 weeks would have been more difficult. You've pulled me along. You've helped me, and I appreciate it."

Major Richard says the most rewarding part of her career was helping troubled children find their paths in life.

"I see people that I dealt with as juveniles, and I'm so proud of them because they turned their lives around," she said. "It gave me a time to talk to them. Being there was all about trying to do our job to protect and serve the citizens of Lafayette."

Major Richard says her community service isn't done.

"I go to Gethsemane Church of God in Christ, and I'll do some work for them for right now. After 36 years, I need to rest, so that's what I'm going to do. There's much more to come with Luranie Richard."

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