Councilman, Residents Voice Concerns Over Police Chief’s Firing
Council members and community members alike are demanding answers from Mayor-President Josh Guillory about the firing of police chief Thomas Glover.
The topic of Glover's firing was discussed multiple times during Tuesday night's council meeting
Councilman Glenn Lazard broached the issue early in the meeting when an agenda item to discuss police training came up for discussion.
"To say that I was disappointed and totally shocked at the termination of former chief Glover would be an understatement," Lazard said. "I was of the impression that he was doing the job that we brought him here to do--that when we hired him there was no question about his qualifications."
Lazard continued by saying Glover was the perfect candidate for the job because he came to Lafayette with a clean slate and had not allegiances or alliances to anyone in Lafayette.
"In my personal opinion, he was doing a wonderful job," Lazard said. "I know I don't know everything in terms of what happens behind closed doors, but I can tell you that out in the community, he was one of the best that we've ever had, in my humble opinion.
Lazard hinted that Glover's attempts to make reforms in the police department could have been a reason for his abrupt departure from the police department. Lazard also said Glover told him he would get resistance from officers because of his attempts to make changes, including a prediction that the Police Association of Lafayette would give him a vote of no-confidence.
"I don't know why he was terminated, but I will say this, though: We all know that change is difficult, especially when you have a group of people that are accustomed to doing things their way," Lazard said.
"He reached out across the spectrum, if you will. He didn't just limit his involvement and community outreach to the Northside of Lafayette or the Black community. He reached out across the board. So it's just shocking to me that this bombshell was dropped."
Lazard indirectly urged the Mayor-President Guillory to explain the reason behind Glover's firing.
"I'm going to hope and pray there was a legitimate reason for his termination and that it wasn't political," Lazard said. "I don't know if it was or wasn't, but I will say this: As long as no reason or no explanation is given, there is a cloud that will continue to hang over the Lafayette Police Department, and it clearly undermines public trust and confidence in the Lafayette Police Department."
Guillory spoke briefly after Lazard made his remarks, but he did not address those comments. Guillory spoke only to introduce Interim Chief Wayne Griffin to the city council, who then gave a brief update on training for police officers and open positions in the department.
In the public comments portion of the discussion, residents from the Northside aired their grievances with Guillory and his firing of Glover.
Lafayette NAACP President Marja Broussard was the first person to speak.
"We believe that actions speak louder than words," Broussard said. "Mayor Guillory, your actions of firing an honorable man, Chief Glover, is really the last straw. Chief Glover displayed impeccable work ethic. Maybe if you would have worked along side of him a little bit, you would have learned some of that."
Broussard touted Glover's "innovative" plans for the department to build community trust in police officers. She says Guillory's decisions have damaged the department's reputation.
"This positive moment is now lost because of you, Josh Guillory," Broussard said. "You cannot work with a strong Black man--working alongside him in 2021. I'm saddened when our law enforcement agency is treated like a circus. We have had a roller coaster of police chiefs since you've taken office."
Pamela Jolivette spoke next. She said her concern and the concern of her neighbors is that the increased communication between police and the people in their community, particularly young Black men, won't go away.
"We felt safe," Jolivette said. "Whoever you decide to bring in place of (Glover), I ask that we can still feel safe in our community, (that) we don't have to worry about our young Black men being targeted by police officers (or) being disrespected (or) treated like animals by police officers. With (Glover), our kids were learning how to communicate with police officers. They were learning to communicate with our kids. We just want to see the same thing that he brought into our community.
"It's been a long time since we've been able to feel safe in our community," Jolivette continued. "With Chief Glover, our kids felt a little safer. Our community felt like we were a little safer. We're just praying and hoping that it can continue to stay like that and that all that he did won't go to waste."
The next speaker, Keith Faulk, called for the city council to investigate Guillory's decision to fire Glover.
"What has Chief Glover done to where it's so much of a just cause that our mayor-president couldn't tell him he was fired--(where) he had to get another employee to do it?" Faulk asked. "I want (the city council) to step up and challenge this administration."
Khadisha Rashaad accused Guillory of breaking a promise he reportedly made to Glover.
"You promised to have his back, and you lied, you lied, you lied," Rashaad said to Guillory as she wrapped up her comments to the council.
The final speaker, John Ringle, seconded Faulk's call for the council to open an investigation into Glover's firing. Ringle also accused Guillory of hiding dodging questions about Glover's firing by saying it's a personnel issue.
"The whole thing just looks fishy," Ringle said. "The mayor will not tell us why he let the police chief go, so we have to guess. I'd like to invite everyone to talk amongst themselves and try to decide why they think he was fired. I personally believe it's because Chief Glover was too strong willed and would not bend under political pressure."
City officials beefed up security at Lafayette City Hall ahead of Tuesday's meeting. A source with knowledge of the situation tells KPEL that extra officers were pulled to work security. That source also says there were more officers at city hall Tuesday night than patrolling the streets.