After 8 months of searching, the Town of Duson has a newly elected Chief of Police. The town council elected 31-year law enforcement veteran Kip Judice.
Duson received 18 applications for the highly-sought after position and narrowed the selection down to five candidates, including Judice and Interim-Chief Joe Caillet. Judice submitted his application in early 2015, after a second round application process was opened.
“I felt like the timing was right and I felt like the people of Duson really needed somebody with my abilities to come here and manage the police department, “said Judice, who was appointed by all members of the council Tuesday night.
When asked what he plans to do to strengthen the trust between the department and the citizens, Judice responded, “I’ve always aspired to be a professional law enforcement agent with a high standard in terms of evidence preservation, report writing, all of those things that they said they had problems with. We are going to bring a standard that will be very well-respected throughout the country and we are going to enforce that.”
Judice shared a willingness to have an open-door policy with his new staff and the town he will pledge to protect. On the subject of the officers, Judice promised he plans to keep the number of employees the same, while changing the way the town is policed.
“We evaluate as we work. There is no big change. These officers have been working the job they have been taught to do. We may have to change some things up, but hopefully these officers step up to the standards that we are going to bring.”
One change will include the acting Chief, Caillet, who took over in July when the former chief Frank Andrews was fired for poor job performance. Caillet said he wants to work with Judice, before and after he hands over the title.
“I am not going anywhere. I mean, that will really be up to Kip, but I want to stay here. I am the acting Chief. I have put in a lot of work and I don’t want to see that crumble, but I will be here to help Kip in any way he needs.”
The position of chief pays $51,000 annually. Caillet, currently hourly, would have had to take a pay cut to keep his position.
Judie’s start date will depend on his current position. He is still employed with the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office.
“I’ll have to talk with the Sheriff (Mike Neustrom) and Mayor Johnny Thibodeaux and iron things out and see when I will start.”
Judice ran for City Marshall in 2014 but was defeated by Brian Pope.