Eleven people who applied to become the next Baton Rouge police chief have passed a civil service exam and will move forward to the next step in the hiring process: evaluation by a committee of community leaders who will provide recommendations to the mayor.
The applicants who passed are Shawn Caldwell, Myron Daniels, Sharon Douglas, Richard Harrell, Darryl Honoré, Jeremy Kent, Mark Kraus, Robert McGarner, Murphy Paul Jr., Ronald Stevens and Samuel Wyatt. Riley Harbor III did not receive the required passing score of 75 percent or higher.
The Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board held a special meeting Thursday morning to review and approve the scores, allowing the board to forward the passing applications to Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who will ultimately choose the next chief.
A civil service board determined Thursday that all 12 applicants to become the next Baton Rouge police chief meet the minimum qualifications f…
“I am confident that from the list of individuals presented that I can select a chief who is experienced, progressive and visionary,” Broome said in a statement Thursday. “My intent is to choose (someone) who can best lead our men and women of the BRPD and can best establish trust between all of our citizens and our officers."
The exam was administered Oct. 10 and included both an interview and a written test. Daniels had the top score with 93 percent, according to records obtained by The Advocate. The other scores were as follows: Wyatt with 92 percent, Kent with 89 percent, Harrell with 89 percent, Kraus with 88 percent, Douglas with 85 percent, Paul with 85 percent, Caldwell with 85 percent, Stevens with 82 percent, McGarner with 81 percent and Honoré with 75 percent. Harbor's score was not provided.
Broome said she created a committee to review applications and conduct interviews, then recommend five finalists from which she is expected to chose the next chief.
The committee consists of Jan Bernard, Jennifer Carwile, former U.S. Attorney and former U.S. Rep. Don Cazayoux, Metro Councilman LaMont Cole, Pastor Errol Domingue, Pastor Tommie Gipson, former U.S. Attorney Walt Green, Cordell Haymon, Pat LeDuff, state Rep. Ted James, Ernest Johnson, Julie Baxter Payer, Melissa Thompson and Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker.
They meet for the first time next week, but Darryl Gissel, chief administrative officer for the mayor, said that a clear timeline beyond that meeting has yet to materialize. He said officials are still hoping to have a new chief named by sometime in January, though scheduling interviews with candidates in the meantime could affect the process.
Officials have not yet determined whether the Thursday meeting will be open to the public, or whether members of the public will have a chance to meet with top candidates and participate in the selection process, Gissel said.
The police chief position opened in July after former Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. announced his retirement following a standoff with Broome, who had promised during her 2016 campaign to conduct a national search to replace him. But James Llorens, who was interim chief administrative officer until Gissel was hired, recently said Broome was forced to abandon the national search because the unusual civil service requirements make the job unattractive for qualified candidates outside the state. All of the applicants have worked in Louisiana law enforcement.
Lt. Jonny Dunnam, the current interim chief, did not apply for the position though he had taken and passed the civil service test for the chief three times in the past — most recently in 2013, when he scored the highest on the test. Dunnam has said he plans to retire in about three years.
All 12 people who have applied to be the next Baton Rouge police chief are working in law enforcement in Louisiana, and five of them currently…
There are five applicants who are currently Baton Rouge police officers, including Daniels, who has been with the department for 19 years and applied for the chief's position in 2013 after former Police Chief Dewayne White was fired. Daniels scored a point higher than Dabadie on the civil service exam.
The other applicants who are currently Baton Rouge police officers are Douglas, Harbor, Honoré and McGarner.
Douglas joined the agency in 2004 and works in the department’s recruiting and training services. Harbor, who joined the force in 1996, works in the community policing department and is a pastor. Honoré has a master's degree in criminal justice from Southern University and joined the department in 1995. McGarner, a U.S. Army veteran, has been with the department since 1989 and works in its Street Crimes Division.
The other seven chief candidates are based either in Baton Rouge or around Louisiana.
Stevens previously worked at the Baton Rouge Police Department from January 1975 to July 2004. In November 2008, he joined the Louisiana Department of Justice where he still works.
Three current Lake Charles Police Department officers also applied for the position: Caldwell, who has worked there since 1993, Harrell since 1995 and Kraus since 1989. The agency's website states that Caldwell is deputy chief of operations, Kraus is deputy chief of investigations, and Harrell is a spokesman.
Kent joined the University of Louisiana at Monroe Police Department in November 2016 after 14 years with the Monroe Police Department.
Wyatt is currently the director of investigations in the office of internal audit for the LSU System. He spent 18 years in law enforcement with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office and the Bossier City Police. He is a doctoral candidate at LSU scheduled to graduate in December.
Paul has worked for 23 years with Louisiana State Police and is currently deputy superintendent of the Bureau of Investigations, according to the agency's website.