Nine candidates have nominated themselves to become the next chief of the Lafayette Police Department as it strives to establish cohesive leadership after two years of repeated upheaval.
The candidates are all from Louisiana and most are from the Lafayette area. They are: former State Trooper Brian Ardoin; Lafayette Police Sergeant. Dorian Brabham; retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Christophe DeGuelle; retired FBI Special Agent Charles DeLaughter; Lafayette Police Commander. Judith Estorge; Shreveport Police Sgt. Michael Jones; Erick Knezek, reserve deputy in the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office; Lafayette Police Major Dewitt Sheridan; and Marcus Overton, a Gallaudet University police officer.
The next chief will be the sixth chief of the Lafayette Police Department since Parish Mayor-Chairman Josh Guillory took office in January 2020.
The current opening was created when Guillory’s administration fired its first choice for full-time chief, Thomas Glover, 10 months into the job. Two interim executives have led the department since Glover’s departure.
To become a police chief, a candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree or have been continuously employed by the Lafayette Police Department prior to October 18, 1979; must have 10 years of experience in a law enforcement agency of comparable or larger size; and must pass a civil service examination administered by the Office of the State Examiner.
At least one of the candidates, Knezek, does not appear to meet the advertised requirements for the position, lacking the necessary law enforcement experience.
Knezek has served as a reserve deputy in the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office since 2018.
The candidates were selected after the Lafayette City Council of Fire and Police granted the parish-town a 30-day extension in May to seek prospects.
Cydra Wingerter, executive director of Lafayette Consolidated Government, and Robert Benoit, chief of staff of Guillory, told council members that additional time was needed to hire a professional law enforcement-focused research firm to help attract a more diverse pool of applicants. A job opportunity.
Benoit acknowledged that Guillory’s administration may have been “a bit premature” in asking for the first call for applications, but Wingerter said an additional 30 days would be enough to secure the services of a firm, although the board has offered more time.
Wingerter said the administration was already in talks with a company, which had relationships with potential candidates who should expedite the process.
Despite assurances, an agreement with a recruiting firm was never signed. Wingerter told the Lafayette City Council at its June 7 meeting that two businesses were considered, but they also failed to book.
The council rejected a proposed salary increase for the chief’s position at the same meeting; the amount of the proposed raise had already been included as a top rate of pay in the advertisements for the position.
The result is similar to the Guillory administration’s search for police chief in 2020, when 10 candidates showed up after two separate calls for nominations.
The next step in the process is for the Civil Service Board to approve candidates to take the state civil service exam.
Here are the nine candidates to be Lafayette’s next police chief:
Ardoin is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former Louisiana State Police Trooper who served with the agency from 2003 to 2013. Ardoin also worked as Director of Public Safety and Security at LSU in Eunice for 11 years. He owns and operates Top Cop Driving Academy in Mamou.
With the state police, Ardoin served as a patrolman, narcotics interdiction officer, security officer on the governor’s protection detail, and training officer who trained soldiers in the use of stun guns, according to his request.
Ardoin received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from McNeese State University in 2002 and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Southern University in 2005; he is pursuing a doctorate in criminal justice from Walden University.
Brabham has worked at the Lafayette Police Department since 2002. His current role includes leading a team of department investigators, assigning cases, preparing cases for prosecution, managing subordinate reports and serving on groups special work of the department, indicated his candidacy.
Brabham earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia Southern University in 2021. He is certified as a police ethics instructor, crime prevention specialist, and security assessment specialist. Brabham also served in the U.S. Army National Guard, which included a tour of Iraq, per his request.
DeGuelle is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and serves as the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 6 Federal Liaison for the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. emergency.
He previously led the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 2018-2020.
DeGuelle served in the Air Force from 1995 to 2018. His work included leading an 1,800-person joint task force in Afghanistan, serving as director of global security operations, and conducting criminal investigations. as chief of police on multiple bases, per his request.
He also worked as a police guard for the University of Texas at the San Antonio Police Department while pursuing his undergraduate studies.
He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1995 and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University in 2005; he completed his graduate studies at the Air University Command and Staff College in 2009 and the Air War College in 2015.
DeLaughter spent 40 years in law enforcement, splitting his career between the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. In Jefferson Parish, DeLaughter worked as a narcotics detective, juvenile division supervisor, and public relations supervisor, among other jobs.
With the FBI, DeLaughter served in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., and as a supervisory special agent for the Baton Rouge FBI office. His work involved investigations of domestic and international terrorism, drug and street gangs, and unsolved homicides. He retired from the agency in 2021.
DeLaughter received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1998 and graduated from the FBI Special Agent Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2002. He also received training on the wire interception at the Institute of Policy Technology and Management and is an expert witness in state and federal courts for narcotics cases, his application said.
Estorge has been with the Lafayette Police Department since 1993. She serves as the precinct commander, overseeing 21 officers and four sergeants, developing crime prevention strategies, leading community policing efforts within the precinct, and managing the operations of the precinct, according to his candidacy.
Estorge received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1991. She also attended a command and staff college session in 2001.
Jones served with the Shreveport Police Department for 20 years. Jones handles several areas, including overseeing all domestic violence cases for the department, adhering to electronic forensics policies, and serving as the duty sergeant for homicides.
His other experience in the department includes managing officers as a patrol sergeant, investigating sex crimes as a detective, and working as a patrol training officer, providing one-on-one counseling and continuing education. to new officers.
Jones attended Bossier Parish Community College and LSU Shreveport, according to her application.
Knezek has been a Reserve SWAT Support Assistant and Dive Team Commander for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team since 2018. He served in the United States Navy from 1992 to 2002.
Knezek is the founder and board director of Oceanetics, an ocean engineering solutions company that works as a maritime security defense contractor for U.S. government and commercial clients, according to its website. He also served one term on the Lafayette Parish School Board representing District 8 from 2015 to 2019.
Knezek earned a bachelor’s degree in ocean engineering from the US Naval Academy in 1996, a master’s degree in ocean engineering from Texas A&M University in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering majoring in Honors Civil/Ocean Engineering in 2020 from UL.
Sheridan has worked at the Lafayette Police Department since 1990. Sheridan is the major of the Criminal Investigations Division, overseeing nearly 100 subordinates in sections under his command, including Detectives, Subway Narcotics and Youth Services, according to his request.
Sheridan began his law enforcement career while in college, working as a child care worker at the Lafayette Juvenile Detention Home.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Southwestern Louisiana University, now UL, in 1990.
Overton is a police vacancy from the Gallaudet University campus in Washington, D.C. He has worked as a police officer since 2006, working in several Mississippi towns, including McComb and Meridian, and at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office in Detroit.
He graduated in 2017 from Bethel University in Memphis, according to his resume.