Committee interviews final group of BRPD chief candidates

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The final round of interviews for the Baton Rouge Police Department chief position wrapped up on Thursday, November 30.

Four candidates have already been interviewed for the job. Those candidates are Myron Daniels, Sharon Douglas, Darryl Honore, and Ronald Stevens. The remaining candidates interviewed are Robert McGarner, Murphy Paul, and Jeremy Kent.

One of the biggest questions heading into the second round of interviews though was whether or not those being interviewed this round would have an advantage. The first round of interviews were streamed online, so candidates essentially had access to the questions and two weeks to prepare their answers. The committee decided to change the questions though, choosing from their original pool of options. One of those questions was how each candidate would best represent the police department to the public.

Robert McGarner, a veteran with BRPD, says he would require more accountability from officers in order to better represent the force. "I would want each officer on day shift and evening shift to make one non-service contact a week," said McGarner.

Deputy superintendent of the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations, Lt. Colonel with Louisiana State Police, Murphy Paul, Jr., says better representation starts with immersing the department and its officers into the community through partnerships with various organizations.

"What I would like to do is find those programs that we know we're getting the biggest bang for our buck and partner with those organizations," he added.

"Involving your community relations teams and incorporating your clergy and church members into that offers you a much better insight into what the community members desire and need," said Jeremy Kent, an officer with the University of Monroe Police Department.

The mayor's second in command, Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel, addressed some of the concerns head on. While he admits making the process so open has presented some issues along the way, he says they are doing everything they can to maintain transparency while also being fair.

"It's created a lot of issues trying to make sure that we've got all the legal components correct in terms of how we ask people questions and what we ask so that's provided a few little challenges, but I think the public's been engaged and that's what we wanted and that's what she wanted," said Gissel.

The Police Chief Review Selection Committee, formed by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, will choose five finalists from the remaining seven applicants. Broome will then make the final decision. Twelve candidates initially applied for the job, then 11 passed the Municipal Fire and Police Chief Service Exam for Chief. Since then, four have withdrawn their applications, leaving seven vying for the position.

All seven remaining candidates will be given the opportunity to present a closing statement to the committee during the last public meeting on December 7 at 5 p.m. Public comment will also be allowed at this meeting. After the committee chooses their top five candidates, Broome will interview them personally and make a decision.

The final interviews for the remaining three candidates will be held at the metro council chambers at City Hall, located at 222 St. Louis St. in downtown Baton Rouge. The interviews will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Former chief, Carl Dabadie, submitted his letter of resignation to Broome on July 24. Shortly thereafter, Broome appointed Jonny Dunnam to fill the position of interim chief.

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