Hundreds of family, friends and an extended Xavier community filled St. Katharine Drexel Chapel Jan. 13, 2017, to pay tribute to Chief of Police Duane Carkum Sr. Carkum, who was chief for over a decade, died unexpectedly Jan. 6. Following the service, current and past XUPD and New Orleans Police Department officers saluted as pall bearers moved from the chapel to the procession. A New Orleans Police Department motorcycle brigade led the funeral procession along Drexel Drive, where people gathered for a final farewell to the beloved chief.
Carkum was a retired NOPD homicide detective. He arrived at Xavier just before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. During the funeral service, Xavier Vice President of Student Services Joseph Byrd delivered an emotional speech for his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother, co-worker and friend. Current and longtime fraternity members, including former Xavier President Norman C. Francis, honored their fallen brother with a special tribute during the ceremony.
“He [Carkum] protected this campus and the people on it like a bear would his cubs,” Byrd said. When Xavier and the City of New Orleans flooded in August 2005, “Duane and his officers remained here” to protect against looters. “He always put others first.” Francis, who was Xavier’s president for 47 years and hired Carkum, described the chief as a devoted father, husband, friend and colleague.
In an interview with XU student media’s live news show, “What’s the Rush?,” current Xavier President C. Reynold Verret called Carkum “a father to his officers.” Verret credited Carkum’s lead-by-example approach and demand for professionalism toward his officers as reasons Xavier University and its surrounding areas are safer and the university’s police force is rated as one of the best in the nation.
Carkum is survived by his wife, Nettie Jones-Carkum; mother Bernice Proctor Carkum; children Duane Jr., Darrin and Curtis Carkum, and Dywanye’ Washington, Kaylon Plessy, Andeka Antoine, Shirley Bingham and Troy Jones; and a number of sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. XUPD Assistant Chief Albert Cornish is the interim chief until a replacement is found.
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