The wait is almost over for Marcus Crochet. Crochet, 30, will assume duties as the new Welsh Police Department chief on Jan. 1 after unseating Police Chief Tommy Chaisson in the Nov. 6 election. (Doris Maricle / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, December 24, 2012 10:40 AM
WELSH — The wait is almost over for Marcus Crochet.
Crochet, 30, will assume duties as the new Welsh Police Department chief on Jan. 1 after unseating Police Chief Tommy Chaisson in the Nov. 6 election.
“I am really looking forward to it,” Crochet said.
The first order of business will be “putting personnel in place where they best fit to get the peak performance out of them,” he said.
He has already interviewed current employees who reapplied for their positions and plans to maintain the department’s 15 employees.
“We’re going to be a professional staff,” he said. “We’re going to make it a habit that we stop and talk to people and make sure citizens know who the police officers are that are patrolling the streets. I also want the police officers to know who they are serving.” Crochet said he also plans to be “active and visible” in the community.
“Through the community policing program we need to stop and talk to the people and get involved with our youth and our senior citizens,” he said.
Among his goals, Crochet wants to implement a junior officer program for youth.He hopes to combine the program with the Welsh Fire Department and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
“I’d like to see us have a summer program to teach youth the ins and outs of what police officers do, then have the fire department follow up with fire safety and maybe the wildlife and fisheries could teach them hunting education and boating safety because we live in Sportsman’s Paradise,” he said.
As for Welsh’s controversial Traffic Enforcement Detail, Crochet said he would not implement the program again until “we get the town in order and the department running.”
“Once everything is running smoothly and I feel we have caught up around town, then I will start letting the officers venture out to the interstate and make a little extra income,” he said.
The biggest challenge facing the department will be a trust issue, Crochet said.
“Just because there is a change in administration, I think people will feel more easier giving information. But we have to earn that trust,” he said.
Crochet also plans to actively continue the investigation into the town’s unsolved murders. In the last two years, there have been three unsolved murders and numerous shootings in Welsh.
He has met with members of the State Police, Attorney General’s Office and FBI to discuss the cases and said he will continue keeping the task force going until arrests are made in the cases.
Crochet has 10 years of law enforcement experience. He began his career at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department at the age of 18.
“I was following my father’s footsteps,” he said.
His father began his law enforcement at the Lake Charles Police Department, later working for the City Marshal’s Office. He currently works as a civil deputy for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m glad I could live up to his standards,” Crochet said.“I can remember when I was 5 or 6 years old playing cops in the house,” he said. “As I got older I’d sneak the keys to Dad’s unit and sit there listening to the police radio until I killed the battery. It (law enforcement) has just become second nature to me.”
His uncle was also a former state trooper for Troop D.
Crochet joined the police academy three months after graduating from Barbe High School in Lake Charles.
“I never thought I’d be a police chief for any department, but I knew I wanted to be a police officer and I pursued it at a young age,” he said.
Until he officially takes over as police chief, Crochet will divide his time between his job at the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office and his family, which includes a newborn daughter.