Chante’ Schnyder graduates as valedictorian from POST Academy

Published 10:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

LAPLACE — Chante’ Schnyder was once a teenager with a burgeoning interest for law enforcement, fueled by shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order.

This month, the St. John the Baptist Parish native was named valedictorian of the 17-week-long Peace Officer Standards and Training program hosted by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Training Academy in Luling.

Over the course of four months, Schnyder underwent intensive physical and mental training that included instruction on report writing, traffic stops for felonies, range shooting, simulations and defensive tactics against larger individuals resisting arrest. She also aced a series of 11 written exams that focused largely on the legal aspects of law enforcement.

“It surprised me how far I could come. Several people dropped out throughout the weeks we were there, so it surprised me that I was able to make it through and finish at such a high level,” Schnyder said.

Her accomplishments likely come as little surprise to her family members who remember her yearning to follow the police units that would speed by with lights flashing. By the time Schnyder attended high school at East St. John, she was planning a future in crime scene investigation, much to the dismay of her mother.

Fearing for her daughter’s safety, Tonia Schnyder talked her into enrolling at River Parishes Community College to pursue a career in nursing instead. That lasted all of one week before she left her mother a handwritten note begging for permission to pursue law enforcement instead.

“She’s loving it now,” Chante’ Schnyder said. “She realized this was something I wanted to do for the longest and, no matter how much she wanted to stop me, this is my passion. Now she is my biggest support system.”

Schnyder graduated as a criminal justice major and a sociology and psychology minor from Southeastern Louisiana University in December 2021. Her educational accomplishments included induction into the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma.

While pursuing a master’s in sociology and working as a graduate assistant, she met the chief of Southeastern’s Police Department and found a new opportunity to gain experience in the field.

Now that she has graduated from the Peace Officer Standards and Training program, Schnyder can focus on real-world experience. Her responsibilities with University Police include patrolling and enforcing the law, as well as Southeastern’s policies and procedures. She serves as a face to the community by having meet and greets with students and helping mitigate any problems that arise on campus.

“I’ve been in school my whole life, and this is going to be my first time getting actual, in-the-roads experience,” Schnyder said. “I very much have a passion for crime scene investigation. Right now, I’m trying to figure out my steps and how to get there. I plan on patrolling for a year or two and transferring somewhere with a crime scene investigation unit.”