DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - A city that has been hit hard by the August flood and the firing of its top law enforcement officers will soon have a new leader.
Fourteen people applied to be the next police chief of the Denham Springs Police Department, but only five people made the final cut.
A quick look around Denham Springs shows a city still buried in flood recovery, but long before any river crested, the city was not without its fair share of problems. In April, then Police Chief Scott Jones was fired after questions were raised regarding how police officers investigated an incident involving City Councilman Christopher Davis.
"We have definitely been through the flood and the fire, if you will," said Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry.
For about four months, Landry has been reviewing applications for a permanent police chief. He has not narrowed the pool down to five.
"I've got some officers with some rank, got some rank and file guys, some sergeants. So it's a well-rounded group of all men who have applied for this job," Landry said.
Landry said four of those men are current Denham Springs police officers and the fifth works for another police agency, but they each have at least 25 years law enforcement experience. He added that the man who gets the job will have to face more than just the typical street crime and traffic issues.
"I'm going to tell you right off the bat, I'm afraid to say he might have some budgetary issues because of the flood and some of the rebuilding cost we are going to have to incur," Landry said.
Landry said he is in the process of interviewing the final five to make sure he selects the man who would best work with his officers and also build a solid relationship with parish and state law officers.
"I always ask them some pointed questions about what it is that you would do if this happens and that sort of thing so I have a good feeling for all five candidates," Landry said.
He expects to bring his recommendation before the council in the next two weeks. Once it is approved, the new chief can get to work.
WAFB has submitted a public records request to obtain the names and backgrounds of the five remaining candidates.
A city official tells 9News the mayor is holding a second round of interviews. Mayor Landry has been looking for a new chief since April, when he fired Chief Scott Jones.
The mayor says he expects to have a decision by December 13.
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