Stay connected with Lafayette's biggest news.

Sign up for our free newsletters.

Losing confidence among rank and file, Lafayette Police Chief Estorge steps down

Josh Guillory and Judith Estorge
Former M-P Josh Guillory confirmed Judith Estorge as police chief in August 2023, three months before she completed her 12-month probationary period and six months before he was voted out of office. Confirmed police chiefs can only be terminated for cause. Photo courtesy The Acadiana Advocate

Facing a potential vote of no confidence by the Lafayette Police union, Chief Judith Estorge has stepped down from her post and will return to the department as captain.

KLFY was first to report the change in leadership at the department, noting sources who told the station Capt. Paul Trouard, a veteran officer, would serve as interim chief. The Current’s sources also say Trouard will take over.

In a press release early Thursday afternoon, Mayor-President Monique Blanco Boulet said she would name an interim on May 28, the effective date of Estorge’s resignation.

Read more on policing in Lafayette

Estorge was one of only a handful of Lafayette Consolidated Government’s directors retained by Boulet. Boulet’s predecessor, Josh Guillory, confirmed Estorge to the post in August 2023, three months before she completed her 12-month probationary period and six months before he was voted out of office. Confirmed police chiefs can only be terminated for cause. 

“We have been discussing it for some time with lots of different options on the table,” Boulet tells The Current of her ongoing talks with Estorge. “Judith is a tremendous police officer and has been an asset to the department when they needed her most. She is stepping down into a less stressful position for personal and family reasons.”

Capt. Paul Trouard
Capt. Paul Trouard will serve as interim police chief, according to a report by KLFY that was confirmed by The Current.

Sources close to the department tell The Current the union membership approved a no-confidence motion more than a month ago but postponed the vote in hopes Estorge would decide on her own to resign. 

Multiple officers have expressed frustration over Estorge’s inability to work toward solutions to jail overcrowding, a longstanding problem that had officers waiting with arrestees for extended lengths of time before they could be booked. When contacted by The Current about the issue in February, Estorge punted to the sheriff. “The jail is not under our authority, so you should contact someone from LPSO for a comment in reference to this,” LPD’s spokeswoman, Sgt. Robin Green, said in an email response. 

Read all about it in The Wire — our free weekly newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Mayor-President Monique Blanco Boulet told The Current earlier this year she and the sheriff were working toward “all short- and long-term solutions to provide relief with the jail overcrowding.” Over the past two weeks, the amount of time it takes to book a detainee has been drastically shortened, officers tell The Current.

In 2023, Lafayette suffered its deadliest year on record, tallying 29 homicides. An internal survey of officers revealed that 94% of them believe a lack of jail space is contributing to the crime rate. Officers were also critical of Estorge’s leadership. Read the survey here.

Estorge was appointed chief in late 2022 by Guillory, making her the first woman and first openly gay officer to lead the force. She joined the department in 1993 and climbed the department ranks before becoming one of only three people who applied for the position during what had been two years of leadership upheaval for the department. Estorge became the sixth chief to serve under the former mayor-president, an unprecedented level of turnover for the department

Trouard was passed over for the chief’s position in 2020 when Guillory hired Thomas Glover, Lafayette’s first Black police chief who was fired less than 10 months later without explanation. Trouard did not reapply for the position two years later when Estorge was selected to lead the department.