Thomas appointed as Deputy Chief of LPD

Interim Lafayette Police Chief Reginald Thomas gives speaks at a news conference about the December 2015 murder of Rosando Gonzales at the Lafayette Police Department on October 14, 2016. (Photo Credit: Carly Laing/KLFY)
Interim Lafayette Police Chief Reginald Thomas gives speaks at a news conference about the December 2015 murder of Rosando Gonzales at the Lafayette Police Department on October 14, 2016. (Photo Credit: Carly Laing/KLFY)

(The Daily Advertiser) – Reginald Thomas, who has served as interim Lafayette police chief since January, is taking a step down to serve as deputy chief effective Nov. 1.

Mayor-President Joel Robideaux made the announcement Monday afternoon in a news release.

Moving Thomas out of the police chief’s post is “in advance of announcing Lafayette’s new chief of police,” Cydra Wingerter, chief communications officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government, wrote in the news release.

Asked via email if it means Robideaux will announce his selection of a new chief Nov. 1, Wingerter replied, “Not necessarily.”

Asked if Lafayette won’t have a police chief as of Nov. 1, she replied, “That’s correct.”

Robideaux, in the news release, said the department has made significant strides to address violent crime and rebuild relationships in the community under Thomas. He added that Thomas is the best person to fill the role of deputy chief because he is a strong, experienced leader.

A permanent deputy chief will be appointed following a civil service exam process. Thomas expects to compete for the position, the news release states.

Robideaux told The Daily Advertiser Friday afternoon that he had narrowed the list of candidates for police chief to three, and had interviewed the three finalists.

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

Robideaux said Friday he expects to announce the new police chief within two weeks.

Filling the police chief’s post has been controversial. Robideaux asked the fire and police civil service board to change requirements for the chief to offset the lack of a four-year college degree with on-the-job experience. Thomas has a two-year degree and more than 25 years of service. The board declined to change the requirements.

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