Lafayette Police have a new chief and she is one of their own.
Captain Judith Estorge, a Lafayette native and UL alumni who has been a member of the Lafayette Police Department since 1993, will take over the chief's position on November 1. She is believed to be the first female to hold the job.
“I am proud to serve our community and the officers of the Lafayette Police Department, and I thank Mayor-President Josh Guillory and the selection committees for entrusting me with the responsibility of protecting and serving the citizens of Lafayette,” Estorge says in a press release.
Guillory said he's confident that Estorge will bring all of the qualities necessary to lead the LPD as their next chief, noting her years of experience and "the respect she has earned from those on the force."
Estorge was born and raised in Lafayette and attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she studied Criminal Justice.
The release states she has worked her way up the ranks since joining the department in 1993 where she has spent the entirety of her law enforcement career. She served as a patrol officer, a traffic motor officer, a detective in the Criminal Investigative Division, a Precinct 3 sergeant, and watch commander.
Currently, Estorge is the commander of Precinct 4 where she is responsible for overseeing a staff of 25 patrol officers, 4 sergeants, 1 lieutenant, and 1 administrative assistant, the release states.
“One of my goals is to build community relationships and do my very best to work together to solve our common concerns. When police and the community work together, we build trust. We rely on our citizens to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods, and we want them to trust us. Together, we can make a difference,” Estorge said.
An introductory event will be scheduled at the beginning of November, the release states.
Nine people applied to be Lafayette's sixth police chief since January 2020. Of those, five were found to meet the required qualifications and were allowed to take the state test; four of them passed. One removed his name from consideration, which left Estorge, a retired State Trooper and a Lafayette Police sergeant in the running.
Back in January, LCG announced there would be a national search to fill the position.
Then in June, the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board extended the application period for another 30 days at the request of the Guillory administration so that a search firm can be hired. Search firms were consulted, but none were "hired" to do a search. In all, nine people applied and only one was not from Louisiana.
That was an outcome similar to that of the last "national search" that LCG conducted for a police chief, back in 2020. Read about that here.
The Lafayette Police Department has had five chiefs of police since January 2020.
When Guillory took office, he requested that Chief Toby Aguillard resign, reportedly because of a poor relationship with Sheriff Mark Garber. Lt. Scott Morgan was appointed interim chief.
The Guillory administration then hired Chief Thomas Glover from the Dallas Police Department, and fired him 10 months later. Sgt. Wayne Griffin was appointed interim chief, but two weeks later was placed on administrative leave pending a sexual harassment investigation. He was later fired, as well. He recently was given his post as a sergeant back in an appeal.
The current interim chief, Major Monte Potier, was appointed in October 2021.