Barney Tyrney

Longtime St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputy Barney Tyrney was named Madisonville Police Chief at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday evening at Madisonville Town Hall.

Tyrney, a 55-year-old lifelong Madisonville resident, was Mayor Jean Pelloat’s choice for the job. The council agreed with the selection and voted 5-0 to endorse Tyrney. Town attorney Bruce Danner swore in the new chief shortly thereafter.

"This is a fulfillment of a lifelong dream and a goal I set for myself a long time ago," Tyrney said after the meeting.

Tyrney began his law enforcement career with the Madisonville Police Department in 1980. He went to work for the sheriff's office in 1992 and spent 26 years there in a variety of positions, the latest as a patrol lieutenant. He was one of 11 applicants seeking  to succeed former Madisonville Police Chief Dave Smith, who resigned in early November after a 10-year stint as the town's top cop.

Ryan Mahne, a 12-year veteran of the Madisonville force, served as interim chief for three months while Pelloat and a committee of local leaders considered replacements for Smith. Mahne sought the full-time position, but a five-person search committee recommended Tyrney for the post.

“The committee was made up of me, Madisonville councilmen Tim Bounds and Kevin Doran, both of whom are on the public safety committee here, as well as Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz and Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker,” Pelloat said. “It was a great group. The two chiefs really brought a lot of credibility with their knowledge of police work.”

Tyrney’s experience and training with the sheriff’s office vaulted him to the top of heap, Pelloat said.

“His years there are going to be invaluable to us here,” Pelloat said. “He’s going to lead the Madisonville Police Department in the right direction.”

Tyrney is one of a long line of family members to work in Madisonville law enforcement. His father, Leon “Spike” Tyrney, served 23 years as the town’s marshal and police chief until he died in 1983. At the time, former Madisonville Mayor Peter Gitz said Leon Tyrney’s father and grandfather both had previously served as town marshals in Madisonville as well.

Sheriff Randy Smith said Madisonville got a good police officer and a good man in Tyrney.

“He’s going to be a great fit for Madisonville,” Smith said. “He knows the town and he knows the people. The sheriff’s office will do everything it can to assist him and his officers.”

Madisonville has a population of less than 900, but there has been tremendous growth outside town limits in recent years. Tyrney’s hire gives the Madisonville Police Department seven full-time employees.

Tyrney will earn $56,000 annually as Madisonville Police Chief.