June 7, 2016 11:21 AM
LPD interim Chief Reginald Thomas
Photo by Wynce Nolley
There is a continuing struggle ongoing as far as the qualifications for the “permanent” chief of police is concerned. Mayor-President Joel Robideaux wants to be able to consider acting chief, Reginald Thomas, but is barred from doing so because one of the requirements is a college degree, which Thomas does not have. Instead he has over 25 years of experience and an associate degree. Robideaux’s point is that he could consider a patrolman with 10 years of experience and a college degree, but cannot consider a person with 25 years of experience and an associate degree. In my mind the question becomes: Does a college degree make you better at what you choose to do?

I suspect in some fields it does, but in a field where people skills are more important than technical skills, I have found that experience is a better teacher than a classroom lecturer. History is full of success stories of those that chose not to finish college, yet have become great successes in life. One of Lafayette’s most successful businessmen fits that description, as do many nationally recognized others. So I believe that Joel’s suggestion that Reggie at least be considered is a valid one.

However I disagree with Walter Pierce that the requirements be expanded so Lafayette can have a black chief because we have never had one.

Lafayette deserves the best chief of police that can be found, whether black or white. Reginald Thomas might actually be that person, but as Pierce stated, we will never know.

Don Bacque, Lafayette

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