Officers by day, marching band directors by night

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NEW ORLEANS — For Officers James Caire and Detective Sgt. Gregory Johnson being police officers has been a lifelong passion, but over the years, it’s something else that’s really brought them closer together.

When they’re not on the job, both volunteer teaching band students at McDonogh 35 High School in New Orleans.

Officer Caire leads the percussionists while Detective Johnson is over the color guard.

“We know what the kids get out of it – incredible mentors. But what do you get out of it?” asked a reporter.

“My joy is to see a kid go to college on a scholarship or a partial scholarship or anything that will help or her and their families,” said Officer Claire.

“Just seeing them here and not in a street and not having to deal with them on the other side of the law – that’s what I get out of it,” added Detective Johnson.

Officer Caire said his life has become intertwined with the lives of the students he mentors.

Two years ago he recruited Detective Johnson to come along for the ride. Everyone seems to have benefited.

“It’s just like meaningful because he’s just nice and he treats you with so much respect. And the fact that people are saying these things about police…it’s not true,” added percussionist Cydney Neal.

“He makes you think differently about cops?”


Officer Claire said he also wants to teach the kids the importance of discipline.

“A lot of times they want to say, they want to be great, but you got to put the work in.”

“Y’all might say, it’s beyond the call…but it’s just something natural,” said Detective Johnson.

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