Council votes on police chief nominee Nov. 21

Mayor Hunter confident in city’s future with Caldwell

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said on Monday he is confident in the city’s future if Shawn Caldwell becomes its next police chief.

The City Council will decide at its 5:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday whether to approve Caldwell as chief. If he isn’t approved, the search process starts over, Hunter said.

Caldwell, an LCPD deputy chief, was announced as the mayor’s recommendation to take over as chief on Nov. 9. He was one of nine people who applied for the job. An advisory panel nominated by Hunter narrowed the field down to three candidates.

Hunter chose Caldwell over Lt. Michel Pappillion, constable of Precinct 6 in Harris County, Texas; and Samuel Wyatt, director of investigations for Louisiana State University. The decision came after conducting interviews and reviewing their personnel records.

Hunter described the search for a new police chief as "grueling but therapeutic." He said he chose Caldwell based on his interview, demeanor, spirit, history with the police department and his love for the community.

"To have a good police department is not only catching the bad guy," Hunter said. "It’s about community policing and involvement with the community so that hopefully you’re doing some things to prevent that young man or young woman from committing the crime."

During the interview, Hunter said Caldwell described himself as "a guardian at heart" who could be a "warrior" when he needed to be.

"He realizes how important it is to establish relationships within the neighborhoods, elected officials, community leaders, the faith-based community," he said.

The new chief will have to dedicate time to reducing juvenile crime, something Hunter said has seen an uptick since he became mayor. He said the growth in the city also brings issues like increased traffic and the potential for more crime.

If approved by the City Council, Caldwell will take office Jan. 16. Current Chief Don Dixon is retiring on Jan. 15 after nearly 20 years of service. Newly appointed chiefs serve six-year terms and can be reappointed for additional terms.

Hunter said Caldwell would be able to appoint up to three deputy chiefs after being appointed chief.

"He’s ready to form his administration," he said.

Caldwell, a Lake Charles native, said in a statement that he was honored to be nominated for the job.

"This community is home to me, and working to ensure the safety of every one of our citizens from every corner of this city is a responsibility and a calling that I do not take lightly," he said.””police chief

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