BREAUX BRIDGE, La. (KLFY) — Breaux Bridge will have a new police chief this year, though he or she may not be elected by the community, as has been the tradition.

The city council passed a resolution at Tuesday’s city council meeting to make the police chief an appointed position instead of an elected one. It still has to be approved by the Louisiana Legislature before it can become a reality.

Scotty Borel, one of the two council members who voted against the resolution, says he doesn’t want to take away any citizen’s right to vote.

“I voted no because the Constitution says people have the right to vote. Taking that right away from any citizen anytime or anywhere, I think is unconstitutional,” Borel told News 10.

Passionate residents who spoke up said they worry that taking away the election will hurt democracy. Mayor Ricky Calais, who favors appointing a police chief, says that isn’t happening.

“They’re not trying to take any power away from the people because no one took this lightly,” Calais said. “If so, they’d have done it 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or in this case, these councilmembers three years ago when they took office. No one was trying to do that until they felt there was really no better option.”

He says an appointed police chief isn’t harming democracy because the chief will still be selected by five councilmembers, who are elected officials.

“So that’s just an extension of representative democracy, where the people that we, and I vote to, have elected to serve on the council will then make that choice,” the mayor told News 10.

He says they’ve chosen to move towards an appointed chief because there aren’t enough qualified people for the job. An appointed chief will allow the council to select someone from the entire parish, not just the City of Breaux Bridge.

“We’re in a position that, what do you do? Wait until January of 2023 and wake up and say, ‘Oh wait. We don’t have a police chief to run the department?'” Mayor Calais added.

Now that the city council has passed the resolution, Sen. Fred Mills will take it to the legislature.