LAFAYETTE, La. (IND) – Mayor-President Joel Robideaux announced Tuesday that he has named Capt. Reginald “Reggie” Thomas as the Interim Police Chief for the Lafayette Police Department. Thomas is a 25-year veteran of the LPD and a graduate of the FBI National Academy who just this past Sunday was promoted to captain and named as the commander of Precinct Four headquartered on Moss Street.
Thomas will take over for outgoing Police Chief Jim Craft who will be ending his 39-year career with LPD on Jan. 31 to take a position as the executive director of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice, which is among the recent cabinet appointments by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“Chief Craft, thank you for everything,” said Robideaux to a round of applause. “I appreciate your help in this process. Your community certainly owes you a debt of gratitude and I hope that you remain a familiar face in Lafayette as you venture into your next phase.”
Robideaux also announced his intention to create a new position within the police department of deputy chief.
“While it’s not an easy task to fill the void that Chief Craft leaves behind, I’m certain that I have found the right person to lead the department,” said Robideaux. “And going forward, let me say that I plan to work with the council and with the Civil Service Board to establish the position of deputy chief. My intention and hope is to have Capt. Thomas serve in that role once the national search has been conducted and a permanent chief has been named.”
Thomas holds a number of leadership positions including having served as the supervisor of the Officer Involved Shooting Team and has been previously elected by his peers to serve as their representative on the Civil Service Board. As a supervisor in the Criminal Investigations Division, Thomas has both led and supervised investigations of major crimes in Lafayette. Thomas also currently serves at the president of the Louisiana Chapter of the FBI National Academy Association, and was instrumental in obtaining and managing a grant for the department for the Violence Against Women Act.
Thomas was surrounded by his friends and family as he accepted the position.
“I would like to thank Mayor Robideaux for trusting me with this important position,” said Thomas. “I am honored and humbled to accept the position of interim chief of the Lafayette Police Department. I would also like to thank Chief Jim Craft for not only training, but mentoring me throughout the years.”
Thomas will take over as interim chief as Robideaux begins a nationwide search for a permanent police chief.
“During this time, it will be my duty to insure a successful transition and ensure the safety of the community,” said Thomas. “It is my goal as interim chief to continue to lead the city of Lafayette with the input of the community and to focus more heavily on community policing. I understand that we must bridge the gap between the police department and the community.”
[This article was originally published on TheIND.com.]