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Photo gallery: Ann Taylor named officer of the year; detective saved juvenile from brink of death

RESERVE — Det. Sgt. Ann Taylor is known at the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office for her steadfast dedication and compassion for juveniles, especially in relation to a young victim she helped save from the brink of death.

When Taylor located the victim in 2015, she saw a child with fractured bones, scarring burns and a body failing from extreme malnutrition.

The discovery happened in LaPlace just seven days after Taylor took on a longstanding missing juvenile investigation that spanned numerous parishes, and help couldn’t have come soon enough.

“The child was near death when we found her,” Taylor said. “The medical examiner literally said she maybe would’ve lasted another week. Today, she is happy and healthy. She’s been on the honor roll and student of the year. She outweighs me at this point.”

Taylor’s dedication to the ongoing multi-jurisdiction, multi-defendant trial earned her SJSO’s Officer of the Second Quarter award in September.

On Thursday night, Taylor was overwhelmed by cheers from a packed house of blue uniforms as she was named SJSO’s 2018 Officer of the Year at Regala Gym in Reserve.

Juvenile investigations and sex crimes against juveniles are Taylor’s primary focus at the Sheriff’s Office, where she has worked for 11 years.

“That’s it, I just like to help people,” Taylor said.

“The victims have to be No. 1. My focus is always the victims, no matter who they are.”

The juvenile cruelty case, which stemmed from a custody issue, has led to a 30-year prison sentence for one of the abusers, according to Taylor.

While announcing the four contenders for Officer of the Year, 2017 winner Justin Williams said Taylor “went above and beyond the call of duty” in assisting in the prosecution of the abuser.

“Detective Taylor’s assistance in preparing this case for trial and her professional attitude was essential to a positive resolution of this case,” Williams said.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said Taylor gives her all in every case she’s part of.

“When she handles a case, she believes she’s in front of a jury at the scene,” Tregre said. “She treats it as such, as if she’s in the court testifying. She is tenacious; she is methodical, and I’m glad she’s on my team.”

Taylor also teaches Rape Aggression Defense courses at the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office and serves on the task force for Internet Crimes Against Children with the Attorney General’s office.

Her future plans are to maintain the hard work and “just keep going.”

Det. Lt. Brandon Barlow, Det. Sgt. Carolina Pineda, Det. Jonathan Walker and Det. Lt. Christie Chauvin were also honored as Officer of the Year contenders Thursday night, and several officers were recognized for saving lives through distinguished service in 2018.

Lamarque Ford owner and “America’s Got Talent” singer Ronnie Lamarque was the guest speaker for the ceremony.