St. Tammany Sheriff-elect Randy Smith appoints interim Slidell police chief _lowres

Interim Slidell Police Chief Eugene “Butch” Howard

Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith has appointed Eugene “Butch” Howard to replace him on an interim basis when Smith leaves the Slidell Police Department this summer to become the St. Tammany Parish sheriff.

Smith was elected sheriff in November, but his term does not begin until July 1.

Howard is a longtime Slidell officer who began his career with the department after he left the U.S. Army in 1975, according to a news release.

He served as chief of operations, S.W.A.T. commander, assistant chief of detectives and patrol commander before his 2007 retirement. He is now a reserve officer.

Beginning May 2, Howard will work closely with Smith until Smith hands over the reins in late June, the news release said.

Howard will run the department until a Nov. 8 special election for a new police chief. Several candidates have announced their intention to seek the post.