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Lafayette’s new police chief brings tidings of change

New Lafayette Police Chief Thomas Glover Photo by Stacy Conrad
Thomas Glover introduced himself to Lafayette as an agent of change

The gist: Thomas Glover, appointed Lafayette’s first Black police chief, introduced himself as an agent of change. The longtime police veteran takes up his new post in January. Mayor-President Josh Guillory announced his selection Wednesday, filling a position left vacant for nearly a year.

Who is he? Glover spent more than three decades with the Dallas Police Department, retiring in 2017 as a lieutenant who had spent most of his career as a supervisor, the last nine on command staff. Since retiring, he had been serving as a reserve officer with the department. He’s a native of northeast Louisiana, and an outspoken advocate for police accountability. In 2016, as president of the Black police union in Dallas, he called police brutality against unarmed Black men an “epidemic.”

“Well, I’m pro-police, I’m pro-law enforcement, and I’m anti-police misconduct. I am anti-police mistreatment. I am anti-police discrimination,” he told PBS Newshour in 2016. At the time, he called on President Obama to help PDs purge their ranks of bad cops. 

Glover embraces 21st Century Policing. The policing framework, pushed by the Obama administration in 2015, stresses six pillars: building trust, policy and oversight, adopting technology as a means of public engagement, community policing, training and officer wellness. 

“We cannot police today the way we did a year ago,” Glover said Wednesday, referencing the “murder” of George Floyd by Minneapolis police earlier this summer, an event he said changed everything. 

Does he mean what he says? The word is Glover is a man who gets things done. “He has his way of doing things,” newly elected Lafayette City Marshal Reggie Thomas says. “And the Lafayette Police Department is going to have to conform to that.”

Thomas, the first Black man elected as Lafayette’s city marshal, says he has spoken twice to Glover in the past two days and plans to introduce him around town. The marshal-elect says they’ve already committed to working closely together with the Community Relations Board.

This story has been updated to accurately reflect Glover's service with the Dallas Police Department.