Police Officer First Class Mark Michaud
Slidell (LA) Police Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Police Officer First Class Mark Michaud of the Slidell (LA) Police Department as its Officer of the Month for June 2011.
It is not often that a recreational pastime develops into career — one in which lives are saved and the community is well-served. However, this is exactly what happened in the case of Mark Michaud. More than 20 years ago, he began scuba diving recreationally and developed a passion for the sport. A diving buddy, whose father was a detective with the Slidell Police Department, suggested that Mark join the department. Soon his love of scuba diving and law enforcement developed into a successful career.
Officer Michaud is certified as a Master Diver and is also a member of the International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery (IUCRR) organization. There are less than 300 people worldwide that are able to perform rescues and recoveries in caves, mine shafts, or on sunken vessels in waters where visibility is near zero and currents run strong.
Officer Michaud funded his own training during his off hours — to increase his knowledge and abilities for water rescues. His expertise enables him to train other officers and Emergency Services Personnel in water survival and rescues. He has donated his free time and a good deal of personal funds to help develop the Slidell Police Department’s Dive Team, which now includes five other licensed divers. Under Officer Michaud’s leadership, these officers are called upon by agencies and departments throughout the state of Louisiana to assist when natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina strike, or in kidnapping cases like that of eleven-year-old Lisa Bruno, who was thankfully found alive.
On dry land, Officer Michaud played a significant role in the development of the Slidell Police Department’s Tactical Vehicle Intervention program, which took 18 months of research, development and training to properly and safely implement. Ahead of schedule and below budget, this program, which Officer Michaud was the first to apply, safely stopped the vehicle of an armed robbery suspect soon after it was employed.
During his off-duty hours, the single father of four enjoys cave diving, particularly along the panhandle of Texas, where he once found a perfectly preserved skeleton of a manatee. Whether he is diving for pleasure or for work, Officer Michaud finds peace in what he describes as a whole different world.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officer Michaud, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2011, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2012 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s 2013 calendar.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.