BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White was fired Wednesday, after less than two years on the job, WAFB's Kiran Chawla reports.
Lt. Carl Dabadie, Jr. will serve as the interim police chief until Mayor Kip Holden hires a new chief. Dabadie, a 26-year veteran of the department, was most recently assigned to Chief White's Administrative Staff. He is the son of the late Lt. Carl Dabadie, a veteran Baton Rouge Police Department motorcycle officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1984.
Chief White said William Daniel, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Mayor's office, asked White to step down. After White said he refused, he says Daniel fired him. White says Daniel cited "a substantial disagreement" about the future of the police department.
"Give me some time, this is still unfolding," Daniel told reporters Wednesday afternoon when asked about the firing.
When approached at City Hall, Mayor Kip Holden would not give a specific reason for the termination and repeatedly told reporters "we are not going to discuss personnel matters".
White is represented by local attorney Jill Craft. Craft declined to comment on the matter, saying White indicated he will release a statement through her office sometime on Thursday.
White has ten days to ask the civil service board to review his termination.
White's termination comes after months of speculation that White's position was in jeopardy. East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden told reporters on multiple occasions in the past several weeks that the chief's job was not in jeopardy.
Last month, the mayor told WAFB 9News he annually reviews the performance of all key positions in his administration and planned to do those evaluations soon.
Homicides in Baton Rouge were up 4.4 percent in 2012 compared to the year before. However, officials were pleased with progress made in the last four months of 2012 when the city began to have a decrease in homicides compared to the same months in the prior year.
During his re-election campaign last fall, Mayor Holden was targeted by an opponent's television commercial that questioned why so many Baton Rouge Police officers provided protection for Minister Louis Farrakhan during a visit to Southern University.
In responding to questions about the commercial, Chief White initially said only one officer from his department took part in the security detail and no overtime dollars were used. However, a report by the 9News I-TEAM last month revealed more than a dozen BRPD officers actually took part in the detail at an overtime cost of $2,456.
Chief White said one of the most important changes that needed to be made in his department was to improve relationships between BRPD and members of the black community. In October 2012, members of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Baton Rouge presented White with an appreciation award. Church members said they wanted to recognize White's efforts to bridge the gap between the police department and the community.
Holden hired Chief White on May 27th, 2011. He was one of 52 candidates in a search that lasted nearly three months. It marked a return to the same department where he began his career.
When he first worked for BRPD, he spent nearly seven years in Uniform Patrol, Traffic and Motorcycle Divisions. White later went to work for Louisiana State Police for nearly 21 years where he was ultimately became Command Inspector of the Joint Emergency Services Training Complex, overseeing the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, the Emergency Operations Center, training and Capital and physical security.