Lafayette Interim Police Chief Reginald Thomas speaks during a press conference to announce arrests in a 2015 homicide Friday, October 14, 2016, at the Lafayette Police Station in Lafayette, La.

Lafayette's deputy police chief, Reginald Thomas, plans to apply for the department's top job.

Mayor-President Josh Guillory also confirmed to The Current plans to eliminate the deputy police chief position added by his predecessor, former Mayor-President Joel Robideaux.

Cpl. Bridgette Dugas, public information officer with the Lafayette Police Department, said Thomas, who has more than 25 years with the department, is applying for police chief.

The position became vacant Jan. 6, the day Guillory was sworn in as mayor-president. Guillory asked Police Chief Toby Aguillard in December to resign or be fired. Aguillard, who was appointed in November 2016 by Robideaux, said he would fight Guillory's decision not to retain him. But on Jan. 6, Aguillard accepted $70,000 to resign.

Guillory appointed Lt. Scott Morgan, a 25-year veteran of LPD, as interim police chief. Morgan said he will not apply for the permanent post.

The Current reported Guillory said he will begin a national search for a new police chief within 30 days. Dugas said Friday the search has not begun.

Thomas served as interim police chief from January to October 2016, after former Chief Jim Craft retired until Aguillard was appointed new chief. Thomas wanted to apply for the job in 2016, but had only an associate degree, not the required bachelor's degree. Robideaux added the deputy chief position, appointing Thomas to the post.

Thomas has since earned his bachelor's degree and has the years on the force required to apply for chief. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Thomas has worked in patrol, narcotics, detectives, criminal investigations and training. If Thomas does not get the police chief job, he could step down two ranks to captain, taking an $18,000 pay cut, The Current reported Feb. 12. He is eligible to retire.

Guillory told The Current he plans to reorganize the police department and eliminate the deputy chief position. He needs council approval to do so.

Guillory and other administrators did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

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