The public will have an opportunity Wednesday to voice their opinions on proposed changes for the Lafayette police chief’s qualifications, including one that would eliminate a requirement that applicants have a bachelor’s degree.
Lafayette City-Parish Mayor-President Joel Robideaux proposed the changes in March, saying they’ll broaden the field of qualified candidates seeking to replace former Chief Jim Craft, who retired Jan. 31.
The Lafayette Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board will hear public comments Wednesday and, if no changes are made, vote on the matter at its meeting next month. If changes are made to the requirements, the board would again have to hold a public hearing.
Under the proposed new rules, applicants must meet one of three qualifications.
If they have a bachelor’s degree, they also must have at least 15 years of law enforcement experience with at least two of those years in positions that include administrative or supervisory roles.
Applicants who have an associate’s degree or completed 69 hours of college coursework — enough to obtain the rank of major within the police department — must have 20 years of law enforcement experience, at least five of those years in positions that include administrative or supervisory roles.
Applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent degree must have completed 39 hours of college courses — or enough to become a police department captain — and have 25 years of law enforcement experience under their belts with at least 10 of those years in administrative or supervisory roles.
The proposed changes also would remove a requirement that candidates worked as Lafayette officers since before October 1979. The provision was approved during a search for a chief in 2004.
The changes open the door for interim Police Chief Reginald Thomas to apply for the position.
Thomas does not have a college degree, but he does have an associate’s degree in criminal justice and 25 years of experience at the department, 10 of those as a supervisor. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
The board is set to vote Wednesday on extending Thomas’ appointment, which expires May 1.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Municipal Civil Service testing room at City Hall, 705 W. University Ave.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.