The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council awarded the 2015 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award to a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent on Aug. 17.
Sgt. Nicholas Guillory was presented the prestigious award by Council Chairman Kevin Anson of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“Presenting the Gulf Council’s first ever Officer of the Year award is an honor and a privilege,” said Anson. “Thank you, Sgt. Guillory, for your hard work and dedication.”
The Council’s Officer of the Year award acknowledges service above and beyond duty requirements and recognizes distinguished service, professionalism, and dedication to enforcing federal fishing regulations in the Gulf of Mexico. Nominees may be submitted from each of the five Gulf State Law Enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA Fisheries’ Office for Law Enforcement.
Since graduating the LDWF Enforcement Academy in 2008, Sgt. Guillory has primarily patrolled the Gulf of Mexico. Most notable of Sgt. Guillory’s efforts in 2015 include his actions on Sept. 6 in Vermilion Parish. Guillory received a call about a vessel taking on water in the Gulf of Mexico near Pecan Island.
“It was raining so hard that I could barely see anything, but I decided to launch my vessel anyway,’’ Guillory said. “As I traveled toward the Gulf of Mexico, I couldn’t even see the bow of my own vessel because the rainfall was so heavy.”
Guillory made his way to the scene and spotted an individual in mud up to his waist, which he pulled into his 19-foot patrol boat. He then noticed two other individuals in a nearby vessel that was taking on water and was also able to pull them into his patrol boat. Guillory brought in all three men and safely towed their vessel to the calmer Rollover Canal.
Since those three men were not the original distress call, Guillory then re-entered the Gulf and found another vessel beached and another under water. Guillory was able to grab the two individuals from the sunken vessel and put them in his boat.
The three people from the beached vessel had taken refuge on land. Guillory hooked his patrol boat to the beached vessel and pulled it back into the water. The boat started, and two of the people on land boarded their vessel. Guillory then towed the sunken vessel to a position to pump enough water out so that it could float and be towed to inside waters. The last person on shore got in Guillory’s patrol boat.
“Sgt. Guillory did a phenomenal job of rescuing eight people without injury and recovering three vessels in very rough conditions,” said LDWF Enforcement Chief Col. Joey Broussard. “He deserves any awards he receives for his effort as this could have had a very different outcome if not for the skill, bravery and determination he showed in this successful search and rescue mission.”
In total, Guillory rescued eight people, recovered three vessels, and safely returned everyone back to the Rollover Landing boat launch.
Sgt. Guillory was also presented with the Louisiana Emergency Preparation Association VALOR Award “For Outstanding Courage and Heroism in Emergency Preparedness” on May 4, 2016 for his Gulf rescue.