After a year without a permanent police chief, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory appointed Lafayette Police Capt. Judith Estorge to lead the department Friday afternoon.
She will start on Nov. 1.
“I am proud to serve our community and the officers of the Lafayette Police Department, and I thank Mayor-President Josh Guillory and the selection committees for entrusting me with the responsibility of protecting and serving the citizens of Lafayette,” Estorge said in a release.
Estorge is a Lafayette native who attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she studied Criminal Justice. She joined the Lafayette Police Department in 1993, working her way up the ranks, serving as a patrol officer, a traffic motor officer, a detective in the Criminal Investigative Division, a Precinct 3 sergeant, and watch commander of Precinct 4. She is currently the commander of Precinct 4.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the interview process. I am confident that Captain Estorge will bring all of the qualities necessary to lead the LPD as their next Chief. Her nearly 30 years of experience and the respect she has earned from those on the force make her ideal to lead the department moving forward,” Guillory said in a release.
Estorge said her goal is to make a difference in Lafayette.
“One of my goals is to build community relationships and do my very best to work together to solve our common concerns,” Estorge said in a release. “When police and the community work together, we build trust. We rely on our citizens to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods, and we want them to trust us. Together, we can make a difference.”
Three candidates qualified for the position – former Louisiana State Police Trooper Brian Ardoin, Lafayette Police Sgt. Dorian Brabham and Estorge.
Estorge will fill the position that has been left vacant for a year and has been a revolving door of leaders. LPD hasn’t had a chief remain four years in the job since former Chief Jim Craft, who took over in 2007 and left in 2016.
Since 2016, there have been five chiefs in five years. The last permanent chief was Thomas Glover Sr., who was fired after 10 months. After refusing to give reasons for his termination, LCG Chief Administrative Officer Cydra Wingerter later testified during an appeal hearing that she and Guillory “lost confidence” in his ability to carry out his duties. Glover was Lafayette’s first permanent Black police chief.
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Guillory then appointed Sgt. Wayne Griffin to the interim chief position. Griffin had applied to be chief at the same time as Glover but had been looked over. Griffin was placed on leave two weeks after being appointed once a sexual harassment investigation was launched.
He was fired in January for lying during an investigation and violating the department’s sexual harassment policy but appealed to the Fire and Police Civil Service Board, which gave him his job back with a 90 suspension.
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Lafayette Consolidated Government opened applications for the police chief job in April, just two years after it embarked on its last “nationwide search” for the city’s top cop in 2020.
It took weeks for the first advertisements for the job to be posted, with listings on the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies job boards only going up in mid-May.
Five people applied for the job before LCG sought, and got, approval from the city’s Fire and Police Civil Service Board to extend the application period from its May 18 deadline to June 17.
That extension was supposed to allow Guillory’s administration to hire a search firm to help recruit the next chief, but those attempts had failed.
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