To the Employees of the Lafayette Police Department:
With some sense of disappointment, I am writing this letter to address recent allegations by a handful of employees who allege that under my tenure as Chief, the Lafayette Police Department has been little more than a corrupt organization manipulating crime statistics, threatening employees, and practicing retribution through the use of internal investigations.
Some of these disgruntled employees have even secretly recorded conversations with fellow officers and are now using these clandestine recordings to further malign the reputation of the Lafayette Police Department. These acts are an insult to the dedicated and hardworking officers who put their lives on the line each and every day. It is a slap in the face to our civilian support staff (especially in Records) who works to maintain accurate reports and documents mandated by local, state, and federal government.
These officers selfishly chose to involve the media in their attempts further exposing our department to embarrassment, ridicule, and unnecessary scrutiny by the public. I am disheartened by the lack of professional and objective behavior by one media outlet in particular and their sensationalism of these false allegations. Our badges and patches all say the same thing. Like it or not, we all work for the Lafayette Police Department. These actions reflect negatively on all of us, including those who chose this course of action.
I have often said that we are one of the best and most professional police agencies around. Numerous state and national requests for our policies and methods of crime-fighting attest to our outstanding reputation among both large and small agencies. I have also taken pride in the fact that we are men and women of honor and integrity. Lies, half-truths, and secret tape recordings do not become us.
Thankfully, the judicial system has and will weigh all information fairly before acting in these allegations. There is no "culture of corruption" in this department, nor is there manipulation of any crime stats (which by the way are a matter of public record). There are and always will be internal investigations relating to alleged wrong-doing, which I am required by law to conduct.
I think these tactics are shameful and selfish. They come at a time when many of our folks are engaged in a relentless effort to find missing person Mickey Shunick. The repeated futile attempts by a few disgruntled officers are designed to distort, distract, and to smear the reputations of some 320 dedicated professionals who come to work to "make a difference every day" in the lives of our citizens.
I believe that the dedication and determination of our officers and employees, even in the face of such false and public insult, will not deter us from our mission. We cannot and should not allow the self-serving attempts of a few to soil our good name and reputation.
Let me close by saying that I consider it both an honor and a privilege to lead such a professional, dedicated group of men and women. Thank you………
Chief Jim Craft
Jim Craft, Lafayette Police ChiefFrom the LCG website:
Jim Craft is a 35-year veteran of the Lafayette Police Department. He has served the Department as a patrol officer, patrol supervisor, criminal investigator and supervisor in the Criminal Investigations Division. He has also held Command positions in the Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and Services Divisions. Craft also commanded the Department's SWAT Team and Dignitary Protection Team. During 18 years working as an investigator and supervisor in Criminal Investigations, he was involved in over 1500 major felony cases. In January, 2007, Craft was named Lafayette Chief of Police after serving approximately 10 months as Interim Chief.
Chief Craft is widely recognized as an expert in the investigation of major crimes including rape and homicide. He established and commanded a joint task force of federal, state and local law enforcement officers to address a series of related sexual assaults spanning a 12 year period. As a result, a local law enforcement officer was identified, arrested and convicted of multiple attacks. Chief Craft was also the lead investigator in a high profile case involving a prominent Lafayette physician who was accused of injecting his girlfriend with the AIDS virus. That investigation resulted in the doctor's conviction for attempted second-degree murder.
In addition to his other duties, Craft served as a hostage negotiator on theDepartment's SWAT Team and has been involved in more than 50 successfully resolved incidents. He has often been called upon by other agencies to assist with hostage situations including a take-over of the St. Martin Parish jail by a group of Cuban detainees. Chief Craft is an instructor in hostage negotiations and often teaches hostage survival techniques in both the public and private sector.
Chief Craft earned his Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He is also a graduate of the National F.B.I. Academy and the F.B.I. Law Enforcement Executive Leadership School.