Five of the nine people who applied to be Lafayette Police Chief have been approved to take the chief's exam.
At their meeting last week, members of the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board certified five applications as meeting all requirements to take the chief of police civil service exam.
All are from Lafayette, and three are current members of the Lafayette Police Department. Of the remaining two, one is a retired state trooper and the other is a retired FBI agent.
These are the five who met the requirements:
- Brian Ardoin
- Dorian Brabham
- Charles DeLaughter
- Judith Estorge
- Dewitt Sheridan
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.
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.
DeLaughter is a retired FBI Agent, having worked for the agency for 20 years. While there he worked cases in domestic terrorism, public corruption and homicide, as well as cold cases, drug and gang investigations and violence on Indian reservations. Prior to that he was a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputy for 19 years. While there, he worked in narcotics, juvenile, patrol and public relations. He has a degree in criminal justice from Loyola, and is a graduate of the FBI Training Academy and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Training Academy.
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.
Sheridan currently is the Major in charge of criminal investigation for the Lafayette Police Department. He has worked as a Lafayette officer since 1990. Prior to that, he worked at the Lafayette Juvenile Detention Home. He has a degree in criminal justice from UL, although when he attended the school it was known as USL.
Among the requirements to be chief of police are a college degree and 10 years of experience working for a law enforcement agency that is the same size or larger than the Lafayette Police Department. The remaining applications for the position did not meet those requirements, or did not provide the required documentation with their applications, civil service officials say.
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 Josh 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.
The current interim chief, Major Monte Potier, was appointed in October 2021.
The Guillory administration downplayed that turnover as an issue when it asked the councilto approve a bump in funding available for that salary, but the council turned him down.
Our media partners at The Advocate did an investigation into chief salaries across Louisiana as well as nearby comparable cities. Guillory's request would have put the Lafayette salary higher than that of the Baton Rouge Police Chief, and just a few thousand dollars below that of the New Orleans Police Chief. To read that story, click here.