Caldwell names 2 deputy chiefs
Franklin, Nicosia referred to as ‘movers and shakers’
Incoming Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell announced Wednesday that he has named Det. Sgts. Franklin Fondel and Michael Nicosia as his deputy chiefs.
Fondel and Nicosia were chosen out of 11 applicants, all from the police department, who were interviewed by Caldwell and a Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office commander. Caldwell said he made the choice based on their experience with recruiting, community involvement, negotiations, detective work and SWAT.
"They’re decorated throughout their career," Caldwell said. "I’m very excited."
A Lake Charles native, Fondel, 48, is an Army veteran who has worked with the police department for 20 years, most recently as a detective in the violent crimes division. Fondel said his connections within the city can help police get closer with the public. He said he wants to work closely with young people to keep them from getting involved in criminal activity.
The 57-year-old Nicosia is a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. He has 17 years of experience with the LCPD and oversees compliance and registration of convicted sex offenders. He spent 21 years in the Navy before retiring, with 15 years in military law enforcement.
"It’s a true honor," Nicosia said of being named chief deputy.
Nicosia called Caldwell a "man of honor and conviction." He said he wants to continue bringing stability and integrity to the department.
Caldwell said Nicosia will oversee operations within the department, including patrol and traffic, while Fondel will oversee investigations.
"They’re the movers and the shakers; these guys are going to have my back," he said.
One challenge, Caldwell said, lies in filling a shortage of trained officers and other personnel.
"We’re doing an OK job of recruiting," he said. "It’s just we can’t get in front of it."
Caldwell said he also wants to focus on the police being more involved with the community.
"We want the community to … put a face with the police department and know that policemen aren’t just robots out there enforcing the laws," he said.
Mayor Nic Hunter has given verbal approval of Fondel and Nicosia as deputy chiefs, Caldwell said. He said a third deputy chief could be introduced in the future, once discussions about staffing take place.
The City Council confirmed Caldwell as the city’s next chief of police Nov. 21. He will take over the job from Don Dixon, who is retiring Jan. 15 after nearly 20 years of service.
Fondel, Nicosia and Caldwell will assume their new titles Jan. 16.