Q&A with Ascension Parish Deputy
Name: Deputy LaTonya Sullivan
Position: Patrol Deputy w/ Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office
Education and experience: 1996 Graduate of Donaldsonville High School & 6 years w/ United States Army as a 71L/ Administrative Specialist
Family: Father – Mayor Leroy Sullivan Mother – Wanda Sullivan Daughter – DaJhe’ Sullivan Sister – Nyla Sullivan Brothers – Leroy Jr., Tre’ and Trent Sullivan
In several sentences explain why you decided to get involved with public safety.
I started out working in the Pre-Trial Division for the Sheriff’s Office and in order for me to fully be able to perform my job, I needed to become Post Certified. Once I completed the academy and got a taste of the Patrol Division, there was no turning back. Patrol is dynamic. Each day is different and you never know what it will bring.
Who inspired you and how?
From a young age, my parents encouraged my siblings and I to be the very best at whatever we chose to pursue. They accomplished this with their words as well as their actions and continue to inspire me to this day. My father has been in public service for many years, first as a City Councilman and now as the Mayor. His continuing dedication to serving the people of Donaldsonville set the tone of my career, as he has been a sterling example for me to emulate. My mother, who returned to college to further her education, has been an exemplar of fortitude and persistence for my siblings and I. My aunt, Edith Sullivan-Muse, was the first female deputy for Donaldsonville City Police. She was a trailblazer and it gives me great pride to know that I am following in the footsteps of greatness.
What are the greatest challenges in your field?
Being a “woman in a man’s world” is my greatest challenge within my field. It seems that I have to work harder than the men to prove that I am capable of doing the very same job.
What advice can you offer for someone who wants to go into public safety?
Stay in school and stay out of trouble. Don’t base your decision off of watching CSI and Cops! Pray about it, and ask God to move you in the right direction.
What’s something about your line of work that most people don’t know?
You are in the “public eye” 24 hours a day, even off duty.
What is a memorable moment in your career and why?
There are so many memorable moments that it is difficult to choose, though there is one incident that stands out. I was out on patrol and I stopped in a convenience store. While inside, I encountered a woman and her adolescent daughter shopping. As I passed them, I listened as the little girl began asking her mother a barrage of questions about police officers. "Mom, do you think she always carries a gun?" "Do you think she's ever used it?"and "Do you think she has a bulletproof vest?", are just a few of the questions I heard her ask. I smiled as I took my selections to the checkout counter.The mother and daughter joined the line behind me and as I prepared to pay the cashier, I felt a light tap on my back. I turned and the little girl asked, "Have you ever shot anyone?".I replied, "No." She then asked, "But you would, right?". To which I replied, "I would if I had to. I'd use the least amount of force possible to stop the bad guy but if it came down to it, yes I would." She paused and looked down as if she were thinking deeply about what I'd just said. Just as I was about to turn back to the cashier, she said, "You'd do that to keep people safe, right? To keep us safe?". I smiled, "Exactly." I replied. Then she smiled the brightest smile and said in the most heartfelt voice, "Thank you". I looked down at her and said, " You're very welcome".