The committee that will help select the next Baton Rouge police chief is now preparing questions for the remaining nine candidates, who will be interviewed in two public forums over the next three weeks.
The pool of candidates decreased after two current Lake Charles police officers said they did not want to be interviewed for the position. Mayor President Sharon Weston Broome is expected to make a final selection by the end of the year.
The committee will interview five candidates on Nov. 16 and four candidates on Nov. 30. The sessions, both at 4:30 p.m., are open to the public and will be held in the Metro Council chambers in City Hall.
There will then be a public comment session at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 before the committee votes on the top five candidates, who will then interview personally with Broome.
“We’re going to allow the public to come and make comments about anything they’ve heard from the candidates and then we’re going to vote and recommend our top five to Mayor Broome,” said committee chairman LaMont Cole, who is a Metro Council member.
Broome advised the committee at its first meeting, on Thursday night, that she wants a chief with a “bold vision for excellence” and someone who understands the important role that data play in police work.
“Someone who is also very committed to truth and transparency and integrity,” Broome continued. “And certainly someone who understands and can implement a 21st century model of policing, which at its core involves community policing.”
Broome said she put together the 14-person committee, which she described as “inclusive of citizens from across the city,” in an effort to have an “open and transparent process.” Transparency, Broome said, is also something she is looking for in a new chief.
“I cannot stress enough how important accountability and transparency are,” Broome said. “We need a chief that is impartial and ready to bring about the necessary changes to bring BRPD above national standards.”
Cole is serving as the committee chair. Julie Baxter Payer, an attorney and Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs executive counsel, is the vice chair.
“I think it’s extremely important that the next chief changes the way the police department views our community and that we work with the police department to change the way the community views the police department,” Cole said during his introduction. “I think if we do that, we’ll be on the right path.”
Committee members also include local business owner Jan Bernard, educator and Together Baton Rouge member Jennifer Carwile, former U.S. Attorney and former U.S. Rep. Don Cazayoux, pastor Errol Domingue, pastor Tommie Gipson, former U.S. Attorney Walt Green, attorney Cordell Haymon, nonprofit representative Pat LeDuff, state Rep. Ted James, attorney and business owner Ernest Johnson, Baton Rouge Area Chamber Talent Development Director Melissa Thompson and Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker.
The remaining police chief candidates are Myron Daniels, Sharon Douglas, Darryl Honoré, Jeremy Kent, Mark Kraus, Robert McGarner, Murphy Paul Jr., Ronald Stevens and Samuel Wyatt.
Shawn Lee Caldwell and Richard Harrell, both Lake Charles police officers, declined to interview for the position after passing the exam.