BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Conway Knighton has been a pastor in North Baton Rouge for 14 years and says he was a bit concerned when former Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White was fired in February.
"Will the same quality of policing continue, the same sensitivity that he brought into the community would that continue? Meeting the needs of all Baton Rougeians, would that continue?" said Knighton.
More than five months later, a new chief of police will soon be officially introduced and Knighton is hopeful that person will build on what he believes was significant progress addressing a racial divide in the area.
"The former chief tried to break down those barriers and make everything fair and just and I think the new chief whoever that is has to continue that same mode," said Knighton.
"You're looking at probably as early as Thursday and as late as Monday," said Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden. Holden adds he and Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel will interview the final three candidates for chief this week. Like Knighton, Holden says his choice will have a plan in place to move the city forward.
"We all know we can't rest on where we are right now," said Holden. "We have to have a chief that takes the reins of this operation and lets people know that BRAVE is alive and well and we'll be out in those communities making a difference."
The three final candidates for the job according to Holden, includes Provisional Police Chief Carl Dabadie, who says the only thing he can do is try and lead the department the best way he knows how with the ultimate decision completely out of his hands.
"Everyone likes a new challenge in their careers and it's definitely been a new challenge but we are going to continue moving forward and continue to work in direction to keep the Baton Rouge Police Department as a professional organization," said Dabadie.
Knighton agrees and says cultivating existing relationships between police officers and all members of the community should remain the priority.
"No matter what side of the track they live on, you have to show respect. If the motto is serve and protect that's what everybody in the city is looking for from the police is to serve and protect," said Knighton.