Christopher Michael Lawton died in the line of duty as a Reserve Police Officer on Monday, March 12, 2018 at the age of 41. Lawton, who served full-time as Deputy Chief with the Zachary, Louisiana Fire Department, was a dedicated public servant in Zachary, Louisiana for over twenty years. Chief Lawton started his first responder career as a volunteer with District Six Fire Department in 1997 as a firefighter/operator. He became a full-time firefighter with the Zachary Fire Department in 1998 and worked his way through the ranks. Chief Lawton received his Fire Science degree from LSU in 1999. At the time of his death, Chief Lawton held the position of Deputy Chief, the second highest rank within the Zachary Fire Department. He was also an Arson Investigator for the City of Zachary.
Chief Lawton also served as a Zachary Police Department Reserve Officer, joining the Police Department in May 2008. In this volunteer capacity, he worked part-time without pay for a decade. He was a fully certified commissioned officer who received the same training as full-time officers and was a trusted veteran of the police force.
During Chief Lawton’s career, he received numerous awards including: Medical Life Saves, Fire Stops, Unit and Crew Citations. In 2017, Chief Lawton became a Post Firearm Training Instructor. He was an active and founding member of the Zachary Firefighter Association, Local 4644. Chief Lawton was a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, Zachary Police Reserves, Zachary United Methodist Church and Zachary Cross Fit.This award was originally funded through individual donations received in memory of Chief Lawton by members of his community upon the recommendation of his children.
The Christopher Lawton Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to student who is the child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter lost or permanently disabled in the line of duty. The scholarship award is based on financial need, academic merit and other achievements including demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to service in the community. While a declared major is not required, preference will be given to eligible candidates majoring in programs related to first responder fields (i.e. fire services, criminal justice, etc). Preference will also be given to eligible students from or residing and attending school in Louisiana. The Christopher Lawton Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $1,000, is awarded for a single academic year.