Outgoing Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft to head Louisiana law enforcement commission _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards taps former Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft as the Executive Director, Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice, Tuesday, January 5, 2016, in Baton Rouge, La.

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft has been tapped by Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards to serve as executive director of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement.

The longtime police chief, 60, will retire from the Lafayette Police Department on Jan. 31 and begin his new role the following day.

“What interests me about the position is it will keep me involved in law enforcement and keep me in touch with chiefs and sheriffs I’ve met and worked with throughout the years,” Craft said Tuesday.

The commission regulates law enforcement standards and training, oversees administration of some federal grants, and operates programs such as the Crime Victim Reparations Board and the Louisiana Sentencing Commission.

“My job will mostly entail meeting with the various chiefs and sheriffs in different areas of the state to discuss any issues they have regarding training, to discuss standards involving what’s required for law enforcement,” Craft said.

Although the position is Baton Rouge-based, Craft said he’ll remain living in Lafayette.

He said he’ll continue assisting new Mayor-President Joel Robideaux in the transitional period until a new police chief is elected, which may take several months.

An interim chief will be announced later this month, Craft said.

A 39-year veteran of the Lafayette Police Department, Craft led the agency for the past 10 years. He’ll replace the LCLE’s outgoing director, Joey Watson.