Gretna, LA – Gretna Deputy Police Chief Anthony Christiana passed away on Nov. 23, following a “brave and valiant” battle with cancer, his department said.
Chief Christiana, 58, had served the Gretna Police Department for 37 years, the agency said in a Facebook post.
Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant described Chief Christiana as an “incredibly dedicated man” who exemplified “police work at its finest,” The Times-Picayune reported.
“He was never off the job,” Constant said. “[It was] part of his DNA…He would have never retired from that work.”
Chief Christiana’s lifetime of public service began when he joined the David Crockett Fire Department as a junior firefighter in his youth, The New Orleans Advocate reported.
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson, who has been with the department for 42 years, said he initially hired Chief Christiana as a parking meter attendant.
“He wanted to get his foot in the door,” Chief Lawson recalled. “That’s what we had open at the time, and he took it.”
Over the years, he served as a patrolman, road sergeant, and detective, and was ultimately promoted to the rank of deputy chief in 2005.
A natural leader, Chief Christiana implemented the concept of community policing at the Gretna Police Department long before it was commonplace, Chief Lawson noted.
“He was a very well-rounded individual,” the chief said. “And he was very well-rounded in his knowledge of and approach to law enforcement.”
In addition to his work for the department, Chief Christiana also taught Executive Protection Institute courses around the world, and traveled internationally to provide protection for dignitaries and Olympic athletes.
For 17 years, he provided venue and personal security for musician Paul McCartney, as well.
“That was his whole life,” his uncle, Frank Christiana, told The New Orleans Advocate. “The police force was like his baby.”
“This world has definitely lost one of its good men,” Constant told The Times-Picayune.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said that Chief Christiana’s four decades of service will long be remembered by those he served.
“Service of that length and dedication cannot be replaced and his loss will be felt throughout the law enforcement agencies of the metro area,” Sheriff Lopinto told The Times-Picayune.
Chief Christiana leaves behind his child, Casey Christiana Guidry, and his two grandchildren, as well as his companion, Kelli Soileau Vedros, and her children, Emily and Ian Vedros, The New Orleans Advocate reported.
He was laid to rest on Nov. 26.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Gretna Deputy Police Chief Anthony Christiana, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.