Three finalists chosen for Lafayette Police chief

Mayor-President Joel Robideaux speaks before the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board on March 9, 2016 at City Hall to discuss proposed qualifications for a new police chief.
(Photo: LEE CELANO/THE ADVERTISER)
Mayor-President Joel Robideaux speaks before the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board on March 9, 2016 at City Hall to discuss proposed qualifications for a new police chief. (Photo: LEE CELANO/THE ADVERTISER)

(The Daily Advertiser) – Three finalists for Lafayette Police chief have been selected by Mayor-President Joel Robideaux.

Robideaux tells The Daily Advertiser he interviewed the three men Wednesday and may announce his decision in the next few weeks.

The finalists include Capt. Vaughn Burris of the Lafayette PD, Toby Aguillard of the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office, and Joey Sturm of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Police Department.

A three-person panel including the district attorney, sheriff and Interim Police Chief Reginald Thomas on Oct. 17-18 interviewed six semi-finalists for the post and provided Robideaux with their recommendations.

The selection process has been controversial.

Former Chief Jim Craft retired at the end of January, shortly after Robideaux took office. Robideaux appointed Thomas, a 25-year veteran of LPD, to the interim position, but soon learned Thomas didn’t qualify to take the chief’s exam because he has a two-year degree, not a four-year degree.

Robideaux asked the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board to change its qualifications, but the board refused.

One of the six semi-finalists, Samuel Wyatt, director of investigations with the LSU Office of Internal Audit, walked out of his interview Oct. 17, saying Thomas should not be on the board because he wanted to apply for the police chief post and because he was told Robideaux had already chosen Burris for the post.

Robideaux denied he had made a decision.

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