WASHINGTON — The Washington Town Council unanimously appointed Mary Doucet as interim police chief during a special meeting Wednesday night.
Doucet, a longtime Washington resident, was among five people to attend the meeting and indicate that they wanted the position to replace former chief Ronelle Broussard, who was successfully recalled during a town election on April 9.
Doucet said she had spent almost 10 years in municipal law enforcement before going to Washington.
She said she previously worked for the cities of New Iberia and Bunkie.
“I’ve held just about every position from working as a detective to patrol and resource officer,” said Doucet.
Each candidate addressed the council on a series of questions about how to run the Police Department.
Council member Wilbert Ledet posed a series of questions to each candidate.
Ledet asked each candidate to explain whether it was an advantage for any town officer to take a patrol vehicle home.
The dialogue among Ledet and the candidates included whether officers should be allowed to patrol Interstate 49 within the town limits and how each of them would promote officers.
Although there are five Town Council members, only Ledet, Mona Bob and William McBride attended Wednesday’s meeting. Absent were Beau Wilson and Wilson Doomes Jr.
Mayor Joseph Pitre said the interim chief will serve the town until there is an election to appoint a permanent chief. Pitre did not provide a specific date for the election, but he said it would occur probably within the next five months.
Broussard was elected to a second term in October 2014. His job performance came under scrutiny at several council meetings during the past several months after residents complained he was not going to work.
A recall committee was formed in August, and in November, the committee presented the St. Landry Parish registrar of voters with a petition that contained the necessary signatures to call a recall election.
Of the 257 votes cast, all but 44 voters indicated they wanted to recall Broussard.
Broussard said he could not perform his duties as chief due to an incident that allegedly occurred inside the Police Department.
Although he refused to specify the full extent of his injuries, Broussard said in an interview that he has been having back problems and surgeries.
Among those surgeries, Broussard said, included those to an injured eye.