Three St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office deputies receive Kiwanis Club Life Saver Awards

Three St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office deputies received the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard-Arabi Life Saver Award at a banquet hosted by Kiwanis on Tuesday, July 13 at Rocky and Carlo’s Restaurant in Chalmette, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

Sgt. Dixie Dusang and Deputies Donald Sixkiller and Brock Cadman, all off the Field Operations Bureau Patrol Division’s 2nd Platoon, were honored for their efforts to save a man who nearly drowned in the Mississippi River earlier this year.

It was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

On April 24, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Sheriff Pohlmann said, Dep. Sixkiller was dispatched to the 6600 block of North Peters Street in Arabi in reference to a disturbance near this location.

Upon arrival, Dep. Sixkiller was flagged down by an unknown female who was on top of the Mississippi River levee yelling frantically that someone had fallen into the river.

Dep. Sixkiller held off on investigating the original disturbance call and rushed to assist the female.

When he reached the levee wall, Dep. Sixkiller observed a man, later determined to be 63 years old, lying on the levee concrete at the water line with his feet and legs in the river and suffering from a head injury.

Dep. Sixkiller immediately notified headquarters of the incident and requested fire and ems. Shortly after, Sgt. Dusang and Dep. Cadman arrived on scene to assist.

An emergency safety rope retrieved from Sgt. Dusang’s unit was thrown to the injured man, and, together, she and Deputies Sixkiller and Cadman pulled the man out of the water and to the top of the levee to safety.

It was later learned the man and woman were walking their dogs along the levee near the water when the man slipped on some algae, fell and hit his head on the concrete and was knocked unconscious.

The man was transported to a nearby hospital where he was treated for his injuries and later released.

Although Dep. Sixkiller was in the area on another call, it was his nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience and quick thinking, coupled with the teamwork of Sgt. Dusang and Dep. Cadman that ultimately saved that man’s life.

Here’s a little background on each deputy’s career in law enforcement.

Sgt. Dixie Dusang, a six-year veteran of the Field Operations Bureau, is a supervisor in the Patrol Division’s 2nd Platoon.

Her first experience in law enforcement came in 2012 as a volunteer deputy with the Reserve Division. One year later, she was hired as a full-time, paid deputy and member of the department’s Corrections Division where she spent two years working at St. Bernard Parish Prison.

In 2015, she graduated from Peace Officers Standards and Training, or P.O.S.T. school which is the police academy, and was named Deputy of the Year by the Knights of Columbus Archbishop Rummel Council 5747 in 2017. In 2018, she was promoted to her current rank.

Other notable accomplishments of Sgt. Dusang’s include:
— earning a coveted spot in the department’s Motorcycle Division where she is the only female member;
— serving as an operator on the Special Operations Division’s SWAT team;
— completing the Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Enforcement course, and a Basic Hostage Negotiations and Crisis Interventions Course.

Born and raised in Hall County, Georgia, Sgt. Dusang has called St. Bernard Parish home since 2009.

Dep. Dusang loves interacting with the public and doing what she can to serve the people of St. Bernard. She also said she enjoys working alongside such a great group of officers who she considers family.

Sgt. Dusang said she was so happy she and the other officers just happened to be in the right place at the right time and that the man was okay.

“I actually had the pleasure of speaking with him a couple of weeks later and I was glad to see he was doing great,” Sgt. Dusang said.

Dep. Donald Sixkiller, also a member of the Field Operations Bureau Patrol Division’s 2nd Platoon, has been involved in law enforcement for nearly 28 years.

His first experience also came as a volunteer deputy with the Sheriff’s Office Reserve Division. In 1997, Dep. Sixkiller was hired as a full-time, paid deputy after graduating from P.O.S.T. school police academy.

Dep. Sixkiller has spent the past 20 years in the patrol division. He also has worked at the Juvenile Detention Center and as a school resource officer.

Dep. Sixkiller, a St. Bernard native, said his driving passion as a police officer is “to help serve and protect the community. I like that I get to help people,” he said.

As a police officer, Dep. Sixkiller said, you can’t hesitate when someone is in need.

“If I had to, I would do it again,” he said about saving the man from drowning in the river. “It’s just what we do.”

Dep. Brock Cadman, also a member of the Field Operations Bureau Patrol Division’s 2nd Platoon, has worked for the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office for four years.

A 2018 graduate of P.O.S.T. school police academy, Dep. Cadman also has served in the Corrections Division at the parish jail.

Dep. Cadman, also a lifelong resident of St. Bernard, said he chose to become a police officer because he “wants to do whatever he can to help his hometown.”

Dep. Cadman said when he saw the man was in danger, the only thought that went through his head was “Looks like it’s time for me to get wet.”

Kiwanis Life Saver Committee Chairman Sam Catalanotto said the Kiwanis Club started presenting these awards more than a decade ago as a way to recognize first-responders in the parish for the work they do to protect the public. The award is presented quarterly to parish first responders chosen by the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department, he said.

“They are the first people through the door, and usually the last ones out, in an emergency, putting their lives on the line everyday,” Catalanotto said.

Anyone interested in joining the St. Bernard/Arabi Kiwanis Club community service organization is welcome to attend one of its luncheons each Tuesday at noon in the Rocky and Carlo’s Sicilian Room, 613 W. St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette.

For more information about Kiwanis, call Robby Showalter at (504) 616-7312.