A lot has changed in New Orleans during the last six decades. Something that has remained constant is Sgt. Ben Glaudi going to work every day as a New Orleans police officer.
That dedication to the department was recognized Thursday when Glaudi was given the honorary rank of sergeant major, only the second time that has been bestowed upon an officer in the NOPD’s nearly 200-year history.
A former professional baseball pitcher and Army medic who served in the Korean War, Glaudi joined the NOPD in 1960. He first worked in the 1st District and later for emergency medical services when it was part of the Police Department.
He also spent time assigned to the 3rd District and Police Academy. In 1983 he formed the Crisis Transportation Service, which still operates today.
These days Glaudi, a father of four and grandfather of two, works as a member of the Crisis Unit.
The honor took him by surprise. As Police Superintendent Michael Harrison announced it in a pre-recorded video, Glaudi listened. A slight grin broke across his face as he heard his new rank.
“You want to say a few words?” Mayor LaToya Cantrell asked Glaudi after he received his new badge.
“Gee, thanks! That’s about it,” he responded as a crowd of family and fellow officers surrounded him. “I’m glad to be here to accept this. I figured if I stayed around long enough, something good would happen. Thank you again”
The first officer to receive the title of sergeant major was Manuel Curry, who died in 2009 at the age of 84. He spent 62 years on the force and worked throughout Hurricane Katrina at age 80.
The NOPD said it believes Glaudi is the longest serving police officer still on duty in the United States.
“This devoted servant says he has no intentions of leaving the department anytime soon,” the NOPD said in a statement.