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LCG nearing conclusion of search for next police chief

Posted at 10:37 PM, Oct 13, 2022

In the search for a new Police chief in Lafayette, the three finalists were interviewed by the Guillory administration and committees made up of law enforcement and community stakeholders.

After not having a police chief for over a year, LCG has now interviewed the final three candidates for Lafayette police chief.

According to CAO Cydra Wingerter, the candidates had to go through a lengthy process that required them to undergo state candidate examiner testing, interviews, qualifications from the fire and police civil service board, extensive background checks, and references.

And now the Thursday interview process gave the administration the chance to know the candidates better in person.

When asked if the administration believes this police chief candidate will be long lasting, officials responded, "I think we have been fortunate in previous years to have had long term chief. And this is going to be one we certainly hope will stick around. And as long as it's a good relationship. And a mutually beneficial one for the community, administration, and the chief. We'll continue to work hand in hand, and that's absolutely our goal,” Wingerter said.

We spoke LPD police chief candidate Brian Ardoin—who says he would love to improve communication within the department and with the public.

"Well, I don't think you'll be able to make everyone happy. I do think that when people voice their concerns, it's valid, no matter what those concerns are,” Ardoin added.

He also says he aims to mitigate teen gun violence.

"And I think that if I can share that connection that I have with some of the teams here in the Lafayette area, whether it be through the churches, whether it be through the school system, whether it be just walking up to somebody on the street and talking to them, which I'm going to do. I think that that's gonna help us at least analyze the problem a little bit better, and kind of try and get to the source of where these guns coming from. And why do teens feel like they just need to shoot somebody else?” Ardoin said.

According to Wingerter, addressing gun violence and school threats is a priority of the administration.

"Not just gun violence, but even just the mentality of the juveniles in our community with regard to threats being made at schools. It is our focus Absolutely. At the police department within the juvenile justice system within the school system. we are all working collaboratively to address this,” Ardoin.

We also asked Ardoin what he would do to address threats of violence in schools.

"I think that we're going to need to maybe start a campaign with churches being involved with the school system being involved. And I think we just need to educate the students on the consequences of some of those actions,” Ardoin said.

"We've got some really excellent candidates who are wanting and willing to be the leadership, our next permanent chief, and just make Lafayette the best, safest place to live, work and raise a family,” Wingerter added.

Here’s a brief bio of each candidate:

Judith Estorge is a precinct commander who has worked for the Lafayette Police Department for 28 years. She has a degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas. As commander, she's responsible for monitoring crime statistics and devising and implementing plans to curtail crime. She oversees the precinct budget and makes contacts with community members, business owners, and crime victims.

Brian Ardoin is the owner/operator of a driving school in Mamou. He also has worked at LSU at Eunice as Director of Public Protection and Safety and served as a Louisiana State Trooper for 10 years. He has a bachelor's degree from McNeese and a master's degree from Southern University. Ardoin graduated from the State Police Academy and is a licensed Louisiana Notary. He's a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a native of Ville Platte.

Dorian Brabham is a sergeant with the Lafayette Police Department. He has a degree in criminal justice from Columbia Southern University and is a graduate of the Louisiana Post Academy. he has worked for the LPD for 20 years, working on major investigations, assigning cases, and assisting with unsolved cases.

We reached out to the two other candidates for comment, according to LCG they were not able to do so because the appointment process is still ongoing.

According to Wingerter, there is no deadline or date set for the announcement of the next police chief, however, she says it shouldn't be "very much longer".

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