A policewoman, a gendarme and a firefighter were decorated for acts of courage and devotion, and exceptional service.
On the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day, Tuesday March 8, Prefect Rodrigue Furcy wanted to honor our guardian angels of security. If women are still very much in the minority in the police, the gendarmerie and among the firefighters, they occupy more and more space every day. “In 2002, we didn’t want to send a woman to officer school. When you’re a woman in a very masculine job, you have to prove more,” admits Marie-Pierre Toustard, executive assistant at the departmental fire department. and emergency (SDIS 65). “For a woman, ordering men can be complicated, especially when you’re young. You have to demonstrate your legitimacy even more,” says Captain Laura Renaud, head of urban security for the Lourdes police. Yet a high-level sportswoman, French military champion in karate and road cycling, Lydie Chantry, gendarme in the Lourdes surveillance and intervention platoon since 2020, had to redouble her efforts to demonstrate her physical abilities. In these trades, women assert their specific qualities that are often “complementary” to their male colleagues. “On sensitive interventions, an immediate balance of power is established with the men while the female presence makes it possible to ease tensions in the crews” explains the departmental director of public security Laurent Sindic. “The maternal fiber leads us to approach the victims in a more spontaneous way” adds Major Carole Meret who manages cases of intra-family violence for the police district.
Acts of courage that command admiration
Two women received the bronze medal of honor for act of courage and dedication: on January 21, 2020, during an intervention by two police teams in Tarbes, Marie-Pierre Barrusta, brigadier in the emergency police unit of the public road service, “seized the knife by the blade” of a “very unfavorably known” individual, who threatened to commit suicide and made death threats, entrenched in his bathroom, after having assaulted and threatened his concubine. On June 11, 2021, Laurène Barate, gendarmerie non-commissioned officer at the Vignec brigade, accompanied by student gendarme Nicolas Bouvet, saved a suicidal motorist from the flames who had fallen into a 200 m ravine, by descending to brisk pace of the Col d’Aspin. A third woman received the Medal of Honor for exceptional service with Rosette silver level: Marie-Pierre Toustard, first woman in the department, head of a fire and rescue center, in Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre in October 2014. First woman captain at SDIS 65 since January 1, 2015, she performs the functions of column leader and executive attaché at SDIS 65, with the missions of promoting volunteering, communication and the chancellery.
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Hautes-Pyrénées: our guardian angels of security honored
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