More changes to Baton Rouge Police Department leadership surfaced Wednesday with the announcement the deputy chief was reassigned, while the mayor's office has pledged to reveal the next police chief within coming days.
David Hamilton will no longer serve as deputy chief after three years in the role, said Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr.
The reassignment comes amid bigger changes culminating with an announcement from Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who has said she will reveal the new chief before Jan. 1. Her decision concludes a search that lasted several months and that has resulted in five finalists: Three current Baton Rouge Police officers — Myron Daniels, Darryl Honoré and Robert McGarner — as well as former Baton Rouge Police officer Ronald Stevens and current Louisiana State Police trooper Murphy Paul Jr.
Coppola said the new chief will choose three new deputy chiefs sometime after Jan. 1 since the department will then expand the position from one deputy chief to three.
Hamilton could reapply for one of those three positions, Coppola said. In the meantime, Hamilton will continue to serve in the rank of sergeant, which was his rank prior to becoming deputy chief — a position that comes up for renewal every three years.
Interim Police Chief Jonny Dunnam chose to move Hamilton out of the deputy chief role after the three years were up, Coppola said.
Former Police Chief Dewayne White first advocated for the three deputy chief positions, which were approved by the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board and Metro Council back in 2011. But White decided against pursuing funding for the positions within the 2013 city budget despite having laid the groundwork.
Then former Chief Carl Dabadie revived the proposal the following year, arguing it would create a clearer chain of command within the department. The move was designed to improve communication and encourage a "decentralized organizational structure" for officers to provide feedback to supervisors, according to department records.
Hamilton became deputy chief in December 2014 once funding became available. He supervised a number of divisions in that role, including internal affairs, public information, homeland security and intelligence.
Coppola said the department ultimately received funding for all three positions within the 2018 budget, which required eliminating two captain positions to accommodate the cost.
That change allows the next chief to choose three deputies who will serve directly beneath him. His choice is not constrained by seniority — meaning the selection may hinge on qualifications and not necessarily years of service — under a 2010 law that created a loophole in the promotional process.
Sergeants with eight or more years experience are eligible to apply.
Under state civil service law, deputy chiefs are evaluated every three years, at which point the chief "may reconfirm the deputy chief for another three-year period, or may, at his discretion, demote the deputy chief to his former class of positions."