LSU reduces requirements for chief of police job

LSU reduces requirements for chief of police job
LSU Police Department (Source: LSU)
Bart Thompson
Bart Thompson

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU has removed the long-standing requirement that the university's chief of police have a college degree.

Acting Chief Bart Thompson, who has applied for the chief's job, has completed college coursework, but does not have a college degree.

The change was made on November 8, when the position was changed from unclassified to classified.

Thompson was moved into the position after former Chief Lawrence Rabalais abruptly retired last June.

The college degree requirement has been a sticking point for LSU in the past.

When Rabalais was put in the job on an interim basis following the departure of Chief Ricky Adams, LSU allowed Rabalais time to obtain his degree. Once Rabalais received his degree, he was officially hired as the LSU police chief.

After Rabalais was named as chief, another officer on the force, Martha Helen Haire, filed a suit against the university, saying she was the victim of gender discrimination. Haire said she was qualified for the job as chief, had applied, and was passed over.

In her lawsuit, she claimed Rabalais told an LSUPD co-worker that he wanted "to get rid of" Haire and that, if a woman was appointed to the position of chief, Rabalais would quit, according to court documents.

Haire's lawsuit was settled in 2014, but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Haire is currently the chief of police at the University of Northern Iowa. She declined comment when reached by phone Thursday.

When Rabalais retired, LSU appointed Thompson to the position on an interim basis and said it would launch a nationwide search for a new chief.

LSU Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Daniel Layzell announced Thompson's new position in an email to staff last September.

"I am pleased to announce that I am appointing Major Bart Thompson as acting chief of LSUPD effective immediately," Layzell's email stated. "Major Thompson stepped up following the departure of Chief Rabalais in June and has provided steady and strong leadership for the department over the past four months."

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