DUSON — More than seven months after former Duson Police Chief Frank Andrew was fired for allegedly gambling while on duty, the search for his replacement has been delayed yet again while the town accepts more applicants.
“There are a couple of new people who want to put their applications in,” Mayor Johnny Thibodeaux said Friday. “We should be appointing somebody in March.”
Thibodeaux would not disclose who the potential new candidates were, but said no new applications had been submitted since he provided a list of all 15 applicants to The Advocate in January.
Four of those 15 applicants are under serious consideration, Thibodeaux said.
Interim Chief Joe Caillet, who has worked as chief since Andrew’s firing and has worked for Duson police since 2010, was among the four top candidates after he lost the December runoff in Rayne’s police chief election. Before his time in Duson, Caillet had worked since 1994 for the Rayne Police Department.
Another longtime Rayne officer, Eddie Guidry, also applied for the job of Duson police chief. He’s worked in Rayne since 1999.
Two other applicants under consideration — Arnold Caesar Jr., of Lafayette, and Nolvey Stelly Jr., of Carencro — have law enforcement experience in Lafayette, according to their applications.
Caesar worked for University of Louisiana at Lafayette Police and as a truancy officer for the Lafayette Parish School System.
Stelly is a former lieutenant for the Lafayette Police Department. He’s involved in a federal lawsuit with other former officers alleging corruption against police and city-parish government officials.
Although Andrew was fired in July, appointing his replacement was originally delayed until the Board of Aldermen’s Feb. 16 meeting, as four of the five aldermen sworn in in January were new to the position.
“Rather than appoint someone and perhaps the new city councilmen not want him, we delayed it,” Thibodeaux said. “With a new administration, they should feel they can work with a new chief.”
The job of police chief was converted from an elected to an appointed one in 2009, when the town successfully sought legislation to make the adjustment after suffering repeated issues with its chiefs.
Duson’s last elected chief, Joseph Johnfore, was arrested in 2009 on counts of malfeasance and theft in an investigation into $5,100 in missing traffic fines. He was cleared by a grand jury in the case but resigned, opening the door for Andrew’s appointment.
Before that, in 2000, former Chief Tom Deville was convicted on federal drug charges after he was accused of ignoring a large local drug ring while serving in the 1990s.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825