ZACHARY — Three candidates running for police chief generally have the same vision for the Police Department, but they differed slightly during a Thursday forum on how to attain their vision. David Brown, David Courtney and David McDavid are candidates in the election for the remainder of the term begun in January by the late John N. Herty Jr.
Courtney was the city’s assistant police chief when Herty died on March 12 and was appointed interim chief until an election could be held.
McDavid moved up to the assistant chief’s slot when Courtney was promoted, but the former detective retired this summer to seek the elective position.
Brown, who was the first to observe jokingly that the next police chief will be named David, has experience as a correctional officer but has not been a member of the department. He ran against Herty last year.
The Zachary Police Association union sponsored the forum.
Asked what they would do during their first two weeks in office, Brown said he would evaluate the department’s personnel in order to determine what direction he should take with the police force, while McDavid said he would evaluate the manpower, budget, equipment and technology while meeting one-on-one with his officers.
With an election behind him, Courtney said he would be in a position to make some “strong decisions on where we want to go” after a thorough evaluation of the department.
Brown contends Zachary’s Police Department has lost the confidence of residents, which makes it harder to solve crimes.
“There’s no reason why we can’t call for help,” Brown said.
While Courtney and McDavid did not accept Brown’s contention, both pledged to work to built trust and respect from the citizenry.
McDavid said he thinks drug use and distribution are the most pressing crime problems, and said several times he would hire a full-time narcotics officer to make drug arrests and continue working with programs to keep drugs out of schools.
Courtney said most of the complaints he receives concern traffic problems. While the police cannot affect the flow of traffic during peak times, “we’re going to be diligent in traffic enforcement” with uniform patrol officers assisting the department’s four-member traffic unit, he said.
McDavid criticized a delay in obtaining motorcycles for traffic officers, a planned purchase that has been in the budget for some time. Courtney replied that the motorcycles have been ordered and would be put in service in six to eight weeks.