Richard Palmisano, who was fired as police chief of Covington by Mayor Mike Cooper after numerous allegations of excessive force by officers culminated in the arrest of two officers for simple battery, is one of 34 candidates to become the next police chief at Southeastern Louisiana University.
University officials confirmed Palmisano is one of the candidates, but as of Friday, they had yet to turn over Palmisano’s application materials, which were requested by The New Orleans Advocate.
Palmisano and Cooper got off to a rocky start: Cooper asked Palmisano to resign weeks before Cooper took office in 2011, but Palmisano, who had been chief since 2007, declined. Cooper also requested an opinion from the state attorney general, who said Palmisano couldn’t be fired without cause.
A few months later, Cooper placed Palmisano on administrative leave after an allegation of excessive force by one of his officers came to light. After 11 weeks, Palmisano was reinstated. In March 2013, two officers were arrested for malfeasance and simple battery during an arrest, and Cooper fired Palmisano.
Palmisano initially filed an appeal but withdrew it a month later.
Palmisano’s replacement, former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tim Lentz, said when he took the job last fall that the department needed cleaning up, including new policies and guidelines. Lentz himself has been mired in a fight with Stephen Short, an officer who was demoted after he arrested two high school football referees at a game just days before Lentz was sworn in.
The top job with SLU’s Police Department came open when Mike Prescott left in July 2012. University officials did not advertise the job until February of this year, with a March 1 deadline. Prescott also has applied for the job.
Carmen Bray has been serving as the interim director of the university Police Department.