One Gretna family is steeped in history within law enforcement. In fact, two cousins, Garrett Mark Haun and Jacques Louis Boudreaux graduated in the same police academy class on Nov. 13. The faithful law enforcement personnel, once or presently serving are descendants of the late patriarch Bernard Covell Sr. and matriarch Aletha Gegenheimer
Covell who many may remember as the beloved first-grade teacher at Gretna No. 1 Elementary. She taught countless first-graders for over 41 years.
The Covells had two children. Their son, Bernard Covell Jr. who died in 2015 served the public for over 50 years as a volunteer fireman who was the David Crockett Fire Company No. 1 Fire Chief from 1985 through 1992.
Their daughter, Barbara (Bobby) Covell Adams retired as Assistant Superintendent with the Jefferson Parish School System.
Law enforcement became the passion in the next Covell generation beginning with Bernard Jr.’s son Eric Covell who served as an officer in the Gretna Police Department beginning in 1983. He worked his way up the chain of command in various positions that ended with his retirement in June of 2018 as a Captain.
Eric Covell’s son, Benjamin Covell followed in his father’s footsteps when he graduated from the Gretna Police Academy. He served there until going to the Plaquemine Parish Sheriff’s Department as a deputy and helicopter pilot. He later qualified as a Louisiana State Trooper where he serves today.
As of the recent police academy graduation, Bobby Adams has six true Blue members in her small family, five actively serving today. Her husband, Louis Bernie Adams Jr. served with the Jefferson Parish Reserve Police for 10 years, followed by 10 years with the Gretna Reserve Police until his retirement.
Her son, Lon Boudreaux started as an officer in the Gretna Police Department for nine years until leaving to attend the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
He served elsewhere with the FBI before returning to his hometown as Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge. After 22 years of FBI service, he retired in 2015.
Still young, highly qualified and certainly not finished with law enforcement when he left the FBI, Lon Boudreaux now serves as Deputy Chief of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Department.
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson said, “Both Eric (Covell) and Lon (Boudreaux) graduated from the Gretna Police Academy, started as patrolman and were dedicated law enforcement officers. Both served in the GPD Detective Bureau and Narcotics Division. Eric was assigned as a GPD officer to the DEA task force and was later transferred back to GPD to head the Gretna Police Detective Bureau as a Captain.
“Lon, after serving in our Detective Bureau was hired by the FBI where he had a great career, serving all over the world and was head of the FBI SWAT Team during Hurricane Katrina. A piece of information that not many people know is that during the aftermath of Katrina, the FBI SWAT Team was looking for a location to house the Team because they had severe damage to their building.
“Because of our relationship, Lon called me and we arranged for them to stay in Gretna where they slept and worked out of the David Crockett Fire Station on Lafayette St. and ate their meals at Gretna Police Headquarters. Our police department has had many officers get a start here and end up in key positions in the FBI, Customs and State Police. We also now have a former GPD Detective and Gretna resident who grew up on Willow Drive that is the head of the DEA Office in San Diego, California,” the Chief said.
And the Covell Blue tradition carries on with recent academy graduate Jacques Boudreaux, 22, Lon and Theresa Schexnayder Boudreaux’s son who will work as a Plaquemines Parish Deputy. Jacques, who graduated from University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) in 2019 with a degree in Criminal Justice was a star linebacker on ULL’s Ragin’ Cajuns football team.
“God Bless and protect my men in Blue,” Bobby Adams said.
Bobby Adams’ daughter, Ellen Boudreaux Haun works in the Civil Process Branch of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Department, processing civil subpoenas, protective orders and garnishments. She has two sons.
Her elder son, Garrett Haun, 26, the recent academy graduate had been working as a correction officer in the St. Charles Parish Jail prior to entering the academy. Now certified, he can pursue law enforcement opportunities anywhere, but plans to work in the St. Charles Sheriff’s Department.
Ellen Haun’s younger son, Deputy Lane Haun, 24, has been serving with the St. Charles Sheriff’s Department for six years. Lane proudly pinned his older brother’s badge at the graduation ceremony.
“I am incredibly proud of my sons. I pray a LOT for them and all law enforcement officers,” Ellen Haun said.
In Louisiana, all full-time sworn law enforcement officers must successfully complete a Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) approved basic law enforcement academy prior to assuming a police officer position with full arrest powers.
Deputy Garrett Haun and Deputy Jacques Boudreaux graduated from the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Training Division, a Regional POST, one of only 27 such academies in the state.
The St. Charles Academy consists of 16 weeks of basic law enforcement training. A St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Deputy receives approximately 1,000 hours of classroom and field training prior to being assigned to patrol duties on their own.
The state-of-the art training curriculum includes Criminal Law and Procedure, Ethics, Officer Survival skills, Criminal & Juvenile Investigations, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Use of Force, Traffic Services, Patrol Techniques, Domestic Violence, Firearms, Report Writing and Physical Fitness Training.
Cadets are not limited to which academy they can attend, schedules permitting. All Regional POST Academies accept qualified law enforcement cadets from agencies across the state.
Eric Covell, Lon Boudreaux and Benjamin Covell went through the Gretna Police Department Training Academy that has been operational for over 40 years. https://www.gretnapolice.com/department-information/divisions/. It too is a POST Academy. The goal of the Training Division is to provide officers with top-notch training, enabling them to perform the duties of a law enforcement officer in a professional manner.
The training program is geared for recruits with full-time employment that are seeking to become Reserve Officers by offering night and weekend classes. Full-time academies are offered as the need is dictated by local law enforcement agencies.