Lt. Gerald Thomas with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office will trek from Vinton to Lake Charles this morning to raise awareness of domestic violence and in remembrance of those killed.
Thomas, who will walk alone with a marked unit following him, teamed up with the Oasis women’s shelter to do the walk since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“This walk is to remember victims that have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence and also at the same time let the public know that for law enforcement, this means something to us too,” he said.
Thomas said domestic violence calls are the most dangerous calls for patrol officers to respond to.
“We have had officers in the past killed when responding to domestic violence calls,” he said. “This walk is twofold. We desperately want to bring awareness to the people in our community, and we want to remember those fallen victim to this.”
Thomas’ trek will begin at 6:30 a.m. at the Sheriff’s Office substation in Vinton and continue down U.S. 90 to Jake’s Cakes at the corner of North Huntington and West Napoleon Streets. There, Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan, Police Chief Lewis Coats, other officers and City Council members will meet him for a balloon release at 8:30 a.m.
Thomas will then continue to Westlake where officers with the Westlake Police Department, Mayor Dan Cupit, and council members will meet him before he continues to his end point at the Civic Center seawall for closing ceremonies.
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach and Iowa Mayor Carol Pontieux, along with sheriff’s deputies, Lake Charles police and Oasis staff, are expected to meet him at 5:30 p.m. to conclude the trek.
“My intent in doing this walk is that at the root of it we want people to know and understand that first and foremost, law enforcement is behind victims and those who suffered and continue to suffer through domestic abuse,” Thomas said.
“We are trying to get the point across that it is a serious injustice and a travesty that’s happening in our community, and we hope by bringing awareness and educating people that it may help someone who may not know that they have options.”
Thomas said he wants people to know that the walk isn’t about anything but domestic violence.
“This walk is not about me. It’s not about anything other than the importance and the significance of how important it is to bring awareness to domestic violence in our community,” he said.
“I hope that through this we have victims who can get educated or at least know that they have options available to them, or even for people who know someone in a violent situation so they will have the knowledge and the courage to help them.”