OPD officer still reaping the benefits
Keith Longlois, of the Orange Police Department, sits at his desk. Behind the dedicated officer, husband and father is a picture his daughter drew in the first grade. She is now a high school senior, but the picture is still proudly displayed.
Editors note; this is part of an ongoing series into the lives of local police officers. The intention is to build a good line of communication between the officers and the public in light of recent headlines in cities across the nation.
Debby Schamber – For the Record
When Keith Longlois, of the Orange Police Department, puts a plan together and it is something he believes in, he sticks with it.
Longlois began his career at the Orange Police Department 25 years ago. He chose his career path in the later 80s when the local economy was in a recession. The plants were not hiring since the oil and gas industry tanked leaving families struggling to make ends meet. Longlois was about to set out with a bright life ahead of him and chose to become a police officer.
Longlois was attending Lamar University when he met former OPD Police Chief, Sam Kittrell. As part of a senior thesis project, the pair developed a “storefront policing concept.” The idea was to make officers a part of the community when working the streets of Orange. In turn, the people would see the officers as one of their own and as someone they could turn to when in need.
“Police work is based on credibility,” Longlois said.
Longlois said he is still reaping the benefits of the plan.
Over the years, his career has taken him through patrol and into investigations. He has worked as a special operations officer where he was involved with public relations and “community based policing.” He has also worked on the Homicide Investigation Team and as a polygraph examiner. For the last 10 years he has been a shift supervisor/patrol captain.
Since his career was based on the idea of storefront policing and a strong work ethic, Longlois expects the officers and dispatch personnel he supervises to work on the same level.
According to Longlois, the patrol captain is the ranking city official on nights, weekends and holidays. Longlois and his shift personnel works rotating 12 hour shifts.
But, police work has times when it can be quite challenging and not in the way some might think. The streets of Orange can be tough, but it is the decisions on the spur of them moment that can make a good officer into an outstanding officer.
At times they may come across a circumstance where they must make a decision based on what is legal, moral or just plain right. Sometimes one choice over the other may seem right, but police are ultimately bound by the law.
When Longlois sees the light bulb come on in a police officer’s eyes as the humanitarian and legal aspects come together and they are able to implement the plan, then they have crossed into another threshold of police work. It is no longer just a job.
“I know I have done my job as a mentor and supervisor,” Longlois said.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Longlois family. His daughter, Jessica, has the same “grit and drive” as her father. Jessica is a senior at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School. She is a drum major with the LC-M band. Jessica is already taking college classes while still in high school. When she enters college she will do so as a sophomore. She intends to major in music.
Jessica gets her love of music from her parents, but mostly her mother. Keith Longlois says music is his life, but his wife of 25 years, Cyndi, actually made it her life by singing on a radio show, the Charlie Pruitt Show.
“She gets her music talent from her mom and gets her hardheadedness from her dad,” Longlois said.
Longlois said the busy lifestyle of his daughter keeps the family going.
“The challenge is keeping up with her,” he said of his busy daughter. “We’re here to be her support team.”
When not spending time with his family or at work, Longlois is an avid fan of duck hunting. He also has a small side business of being a polygraph examiner. He administers polygraph exams several times monthly. He works with a group of psychologists, probation and parole officers. After a person has been convicted of sex crimes and may have been sent to prison, they are often required to follow stringent rules when back into the community. As a condition of their parole or probation they may have to undergo counseling.
“I give them a polygraph to see if they are keeping within the guidelines,” Longlois said. “I have spent so many years as an officer putting them in prison. This is an effort to get them on the right path.”
About 80 percent of those who successfully complete the program do not return, according to Longlois.
Longlois has seen a lot during his career including all types of people. He is president of the band boosters for LC-M. His dedication to the future generation will live on through the work he gives from the heart.
“I love the kids,” he said. “As far as the next generation, we are going to be OK.”