LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The former Lafayette Police Chief Thomas Glover sat down with KLFY Friday for his first TV interview since being abruptly removed from his position Thursday afternoon.
Glover laid out what he believes led to his termination.
As the first Black permanent police chief in Lafayette, Glover says he made constant improvements within the LPD and the community.
However, after about six weeks on the job, he says he made the difficult decision to fire an officer for what he identified as criminal behavior when the officer punched a man in handcuffs.
“I knew that there were people fighting the reforms. You’re going up against a city that’s 200 years old, police department 150 (years old) and you’re trying to bring it into the 21st century and there are people inside the police department who did not want that to happen. Because I was an outsider, I guess, and was making change they didn’t want to see that.”
The ousted chief said he had implemented several changes within the department where he received push back from about 20 officers.
“When you’re doing reforms, having an impact on morale is part of it. You don’t change a police department and people who have been doing things for 15, 20, 30 years without any ‘my morale is low.’ That’s part of reform. I thought that would be something that would be indicative of me having an impact on the police department. A positive impact.”
ormer chief Glover says his firing was not only untimely but not expected and says he was doing what he was asked to do when he took the job.
“The first individual that I fired; everybody was shocked. They said it would not have happened in the old days. I said, we’re not in the old days. I was told that I was expected to bring about reform, discipline, appearance, attitude, and work habits, in particular with use of force and how things were done, making sure the body camera process is followed. I did everything I was expected to do.”
Glover believes after he fired the first officer, the police union became fixated on getting the chief out of office.
We reached out to the Police Association of Lafayette about the union having too much power in the department and claims of the union influencing the Mayor-President’s decision.
Union attorney Allyson Prejean said, “That’s unequivocally false. The police union does not control the police department, nor the mayor president. Hiring and firing of the police chief is exclusively a decision of the mayor president.”
Former Chief Glover added he cares about this city because he was accepted graciously by the community.
He says he does not wish any ill will on anyone in the police department and he also thanked Mayor Guillory for giving him the opportunity.