ICYMI: Elected Police Chief recommended by Lafayette Protect the City committee

Lafayette Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) There have been five men leading the day to day operations Lafayette Police Department since Mayor-President Josh Guillory was elected into office at the end of 2019. Many in the city are asking if an elected chief would be better than one appointed by the city and parish’s top official.

Lafayette’s Protect the City Committee took six months researching the benefits and drawbacks of further deconsolidating the city and parish governments. Part of that discussion was should only Lafayette citizens vote for their mayor and their police chief.

Protect the City Committee Chair Jan Swift said the instability in the police chief position reminds her of something she heard when taking feedback from citizens.

“It’s kind of brought to light some of the issues,” Swift said. “As we met over six months, people started telling us we probably need our own police chief. What really rose to the surface was we probably need our own mayor.”

Swift’s committee found only a small portion of counties in the country are consolidated, but in those instances, a vast majority of the population lives within city limits. The 2020 census showed half of Lafayette voters live outside city limits. In fact, there were fewer than 500 more residents in the city of Lafayette than the rest of the parish.

“As time has gone, we are closer and closer to being a minority,” Swift asserted. “I don’t have a say in Carencro, Broussard, or Youngsville. I don’t want it, yet those residents get a say in what the city of Lafayette does.”

Currently, a parish headed committee is asking the same questions the Protect the City Committee did. The Parish Alignment Commission Chair Bobby Richard gave News 10 this statement:

“In regards to your question as to where the Parish Alignment Commission (PAC) sits on consolidation stand, it would inappropriate premature to make any such statement. As a commission our directive as outlined by the Parish Council is simply to identify any issues with the current Charter and recommend solutions that would make our government work best for the people it serves. As chairman PAC my aim is to ensure that we engage this task with an open, fair, and evenhanded approach. The commission will submit its findings after we have carefully weighed all of the testimonies and information that’s put before us. I am convinced all of our community will benefit and be better for it.”

-Bobby Richard, Parish Alignment Commission Chair

Parish Councilman Bryan Tabor is also on the commission and said a big part of deciding any deconsolidation is the effect on the taxpayer.

Tabor stated, “They (Lafayette) probably should get their own mayor, but at what cost? That’s a determining factor for me.”

When asked if the committee is going to be looking at police chief question at all, Tabor replied, “If it comes up. I don’t know. Right now, I can’t really tell you. I would guess if someone brings it up in the town halls or something like that. I know that’s a big item right now because of what’s going on.”

Despite committee recommendations, it would be up to the councils or a citizen petition to get the charter, Mayor-President’s elections, and Police Chief’s appointments changed.

After our story aired, Lafayette Consolidated Government Spokesman Jamie Angelle gave News 10 this statement:

“Since Mayor-President Josh Guillory has taken office, there have only been three different chiefs or interim chief of the Lafayette Police Department. Scott Morgan was interim chief when the Mayor-President took office. He was replaced by permanent Chief Thomas Glover who was then replaced by interim Chief Wayne Griffin. Wayne Griffin remains chief of the Lafayette Police Department pending the outcome of the investigation. In the meantime, Major Monte Potier is in command of the Lafayette Police Department which does not mean he has the title of chief. Aguillard resigned prior to the mayor-president taking the oath of office.”

Jamie Angelle, Lafayette Consolidated Government Spokesperson

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