IN THEIR WORDS: Ward 3 City Marshal

IN THEIR WORDS: Ward 3 City Marshal

With the Nov. 6 election looming, we asked the candidates Ward 3, Lake Charles City Marshal why they are running and what makes them the best candidate. Karl Gillard (R), Brad Harris (R), Jeff Hooper (R), Nathan Keller (D), Bill Pousson (D), Jimmy Richard (D) and Vic Salvador (R) are on the ballot. Early voting is from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Oct. 23-30 (except Sunday, Oct. 28). For what’s on your ballot, where to vote and more election news, visit kplctv.com/politics/elections

Tell us a little about yourself (education, career, previous elected positions, family, etc.).

· Karl Gillard (R): I was born to Tinnie and Beatrice Gillard, raised in Lake Charles and have been a lifelong resident. I graduated from LaGrange High School, attended Sowela Technical Institute for a short time, and attended McNeese University majoring in Criminal Justice/Business Admin. I started the Lake Charles Police Department April 29, 1974, completed the Louisiana Basic Training Academy in 1976, served in several Administrative positions (Internal Affairs, Evidence, Crime Scene, Accreditation, Records), and retired November 15, 2004, after 30-years, to accept the position of Chief Deputy for the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office. I served as Chief Deputy from November 16, 2004, until my recent retirement, September 28, 2018, so that I could contribute 100% of my efforts to the campaign. My wife of 25 years, Paula, is also a lifelong resident of Lake Charles and retired as a Division Head from the City of Lake Charles after 35 years. Together, we share 4 children and 7 grandchildren. Both our families were also in public service for the City of Lake Charles. My father retired after 39 years with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and served with the Lake Charles Police Department as well. My brothers: Ray, retired after 25 years with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office; Bobby retired after 23 years with the Lake Charles Police Department; and Clarence served for 9 years with the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office Reserve Division prior to his death in 2013. Paula’s father, Louis Mosca, served with the Lake Charles Fire Department for 25 years, retiring as Fire Chief. Several other members of Paula’s immediate family have either worked for or continue to work for the City of Lake Charles. Public Service is no stranger to either of our families!

· Brad Harris (R): Education - I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. I also am a graduate of the Marine Corps University’s Command and Staff College. Career - I worked for both the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and Ward 3 Marshal’s Office. I served as both a full-time and reserve deputy for a total of 20 years. I am currently an Officer in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. I am the Ranking Officer for my job field in the Marine Corps Reserves. I have three combat tours and 30 years of service. I am also currently a member of the management team at United Parcel Service (UPS). I was special staff for the last two years serving as the Director of Health and Safety for 7 facilities and almost 800 employees in Southern Louisiana. Elected position - This is my first run for public office. Family - My wife Heather and I are blessed with three children. Our oldest is Adelynn Hawkins and she is married to Jared Hawkins. Our middle child is Alaina Goins and she is a junior at McNeese State University. Our youngest is Teddy Harris a Freshman at Barbe High School.

· Jeff Hooper (R): For those of you who do not know me, I am a life long resident of Lake Charles; my amazing wife, Melody, and I have been married for 18 years and we have 3 beautiful children - Reagan, Saleigh and Konner. As a Deputy with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office for 14 years and church layman, I have been involved in and with the community, local churches, and public service for all of my adult life.

· Nathan Keller (D): I have been a lifelong resident of Lake Charles, La. I was reared in the Greinwich Terrace subdivision. I attended Fairview Elementary, Oak Park Junior High, and LaGrange High School, where I graduated with the class of 1982. I have three brothers, Joseph, Luther, Reginald, and one sister Cassandra. I have been married to Jannie Broussard Keller for the past thirty years. We have three children, Ashley, Brittany, and Nathan Jr., and five grandchildren. I have been a member Of Union Zion Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Joseph J Bernard Sr. for the past 28 years where I serve on the Deacon board and hold several other offices in my church. My mother, Joyce, and father, Phelo Keller, divorced when I was approximately two years old. I personally understand the struggles of single parents because my mother was a single parent at one time. I can relate to public housing because we lived in them for a period of time. I started working at the age of 13 because my mother taught me the value of hard work ethics. My disadvantages made me work harder, think smarter, and failure was not an option. After school I would help clean office buildings and churches. At 19, I gained employment working with mentally disabled students in local community homes. It was there I found my compassion for helping others. I was privileged to coach Special Olympic teams on the local and state level. In 1988, I joined the Lake Charles Police Department. Through promotional exams and hard work, I advanced up through the ranks; Police Officer, Police Officer First Class, Corporal, Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Lieutenant, Commander of Community Policing, and Captain, Commander of Operations. During my career I have received numerous awards including: Supervisor of the Year, Officer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, NAACP Law Enforcement Award, Kiwanis North Lake Charles Law Enforcement Award, and several Merit Awards. I have also been apart of several programs including: “Cops and Cribs,” “ Read With Me Program” in which officers go into schools and engage with students, “Project Build a Future,” “Habitat for Humanity,” and the “American Red Cross.” This is my first time running for a public office.

· Bill Pousson (D): I currently work at the district attorney’s office in city court and district court. The Ward 3 City Marshal’s Office handles only misdemeanors. This is an area where the citizens of Ward 3 and the City of Lake Charles can resolve situations in a professional and compassionate manor, where, as marshals, we may be able to mediate some of these.

· Vic Salvador (R): I have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from McNeese and have been in law enforcement for 30 years. I have worked in and supervised most areas of law enforcement including previously working at the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office under then-Marshal Tony Mancuso. When Sheriff Mancuso took office in 2004, he appointed me Commander of the Corrections Division. I recently retired from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office as a Commander and Chief Civil Deputy over the Civil Division, which does parish-wide what the Marshal does for Ward 3. I have been married to Cinnamon Salvador for the last 21 years. My daughter, Lauren, is employed at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality after graduating from LA Tech with a B.S. Degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science. We attend St. Luke Simpson United Methodist Church.

Why did you choose to enter the race for City Marshal?

· Karl Gillard (R): Public Service has been my career for the last 44-years, and quite frankly, I’m not ready to stop. I feel that I have more to offer and the experience from my career will allow me to improve and continue positive changes in the office. I, better than any other candidate, know the needs of the office and improvements that will best serve the City Court and citizens of Lake Charles.

· Brad Harris (R): I decided to run for Marshal over 16 years ago when Sheriff Tony Mancuso was the Marshal. I was one of his reserve deputies and I realized the potential of the office. I love to do things that make a differences and I knew then that the Marshal could be a positive force in the community. I decided then that I would run for the office when I retired from the Marines and here I am now.

· Jeff Hooper (R): I chose to run because I have always had a desire to serve our community and with my law enforcement background, this is an office that can benefit from my experience in dealing with those of us who have found themselves needing a second chance.

· Nathan Keller (D): It is 2018, and our community is still asking “What does the Ward 3 Marshal do?” In an era when teen crime is at an all-time high, burglaries and gun violence is on the rise, our elderly are afraid to come out their homes, and there is a broken relationship between the public and law enforcement, Ward 3 is in dire need of a community-oriented Marshal. A Marshal that is open to assisting the Sheriff’s Office and Police Department with patrolling communities. A Marshal who will implement community bridging programs that will open lines of communication between law enforcement and the community it serves, and a Marshal that is hands-on in the community. I understand the Marshal is the executive officer of the court; he shall execute the orders and mandates of the court and in the execution thereof, and in making arrests and preserving the peace. I also understand other duties consist of the issuance of civil subpoenas, courtroom security, and evictions. I believe the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office could be doing more in the community it serves. It is no secret community-oriented policing is my passion and I was proud to serve as Commander of Community Policing for the City Of Lake Charles. I have conducted and attended hundreds of community meetings during my career. One of the mutual complaints throughout the community is the lack of marked patrol cars in their neighborhoods. The Ward 3 Marshal’s Office is a part of law enforcement and it can assist these agencies with these types of concerns.

· Bill Pousson (D): I worked in the sheriff’s office for 18 years, mostly in the civil office doing the job of the Marshal, parish-wide.

· Vic Salvador (R): I have been a public servant my entire career and that is all I have ever wanted to do. I believe I can bring improved training and new ideas to the office to provide better services to the people of Ward 3.

What do you think makes you the best candidate for this position?

· Karl Gillard (R): The right experience – real time experience! While at the Police Department, I interacted with the public daily and was placed in charge of several divisions that demanded trust, integrity, and competency. As Chief Deputy Marshal – 2nd in Command of the Office, I continued to interact with the citizens of Lake Charles daily. I am the only candidate uniquely qualified to take over the position of Marshal. For the last 14-years, I have been involved in all major decisions affecting the operation of the office, oversee the daily operation of the office, and have acted on the Marshal’s behalf in his absences. No other candidate can make this claim. My being elected Marshal would be a seamless transition for the office and daily operations would go unaffected by the change in leadership.

· Brad Harris (R): I feel what sets me apart from the other candidates is my management experiences with both the US Marines in combat and UPS which is a large corporation. Marine - I was the Mortuary Affairs Officer in Iraq for two tours. I was responsible for the collection of all casualties and the emancipation of those casualties to their country of origin (I handled all casualties, not just US). I was also responsible for identity and cause of death investigations to include many high profile cases that required coordination with NCIS, US Department of State, Host Nation authorities and military Criminal Investigative Divisions (CID). Many of my Marines and myself performed these duties under high stress and under fire. No other candidate can state that they made daily decision that put both themselves and their people in actual combat situation at the level I have. UPS - Both with the Marines and UPS I have managed a much larger area and force than the other candidates. Unlike public service, corporations demand high return on investment and constant efficiency.

· Jeff Hooper (R): I think I am the best candidate for this position because I have enough life and professional experience to deal with any situation. I have the energy and drive to work day and night to serve our community. I know that I have the heart, compassion, approachability and desire to help those from every area of Lake Charles.

· Nathan Keller (D): Participating in community events, assisting communities and families in need, and walking the streets to discuss concerns, isn’t new to me, I done all these things throughout my personal and career life. My experience and ability to work with all agencies, community involvement, and proactive vision, separates me from the other candidates. My entire career has been serving this community. I take pride in the relationships I have built and the programs I have helped to implement. I firmly believe leadership begins inside an individual and is reflected outwardly. I believe leadership is about serving, it is not a title. It is in your works we have done for others, and not the words of what you will do that separates me from my opponents.

· Bill Pousson (D): I feel several things make me the best candidate for marshal. My having worked enforcement (CPSO) and in misdemeanor court (DA’s office) gives me the overall view to see both sides of the situation. My firm belief is that sometimes good people make a bad choice. It is then that we can help and make that person better. My many years of public service and community service together helps me keep an open mind.

· Vic Salvador (R): No one else can bring the education and experience to the office that I can. I am a McNeese graduate and the only candidate who graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Other candidates may have served papers or performed similar duties required of a deputy marshal, but none have been responsible for the day-to-day operation of a large office such as the sheriff’s office civil or corrections divisions. None have managed multi-million-dollar budgets or been responsible for several hundred people. I have that experience. Further, I am a “true” career public servant. I do not own or operate any private businesses and will not be distracted from the duties of the Marshal by such outside responsibilities. I will be a full-time Marshal.

What would be your primary goals should you be elected? What specific change(s) would you like to see?

· Karl Gillard (R): Within the office - manpower, equipment, more training. Manpower - Including the Marshal, the office is comprised of 12-employees: (4) Administration, (4) Warrants, (4) Civil. Even though the population has grown, the number of employees has remained the same for over 14 years. I plan to hire two more deputies; one in Warrants and one in Civil. The responsibilities of the Civil Division are service of writs, seizures, evictions, and other orders of the court. The Civil Division averages 800 - 1,000 papers monthly. Presently, Ward 3 is divided into four sections and a civil deputy assigned to each section. Adding one deputy as a “rover” will greatly assist in service of hard-to-reach individuals. The Warrants Division is tasked with service of warrants issued by City Court. There are approximately 28,000 outstanding warrants. Our Warrants Division is comprised of four deputies: one that is full-time security at the Court’s front entrance, one that remains in the Warrant’s Office, and two that are certified road deputies. During court sessions, the two road deputies remain in the office to handle arrests and persons able to pay fines. With the addition of one more deputy, better service of warrants could be performed and add additional coverage/security in the case of other deputies on leave. Equipment - *Presently, there are four deputies in the Civil Division. The division has only one computer and one printer. They are having to wait in line to enter required information. Theirs is the only division where deputies are not assigned individual computers. *Installation of mobile computers in units which will enable deputies to import and export “real time” data. *Because of the lack of proper emergency lighting, deputies have taken it upon themselves to purchase emergency lights for their take-home units for safety and ability to be seen. Every unit should be equipped with proper emergency lighting and it is the office’s responsibility to see it done – not the deputy’s! *Deputies have had to use bullet proof vest from the Lake Charles Police Department. Many times, these have been “used” vests or new ones that are not properly sized for the individual. We only have to outfit six deputies – time to do it right! *Deputies are required to supply their own weapons - at their expense. Some are .40 caliber; some are 9mm; some are Ruger; some are Glock; some are Smith & Wesson, etc. For liability reasons and standardization, the office would purchase and issue weapons and ammunition. *Training, to include cultural diversity training, is a must! Continuing education will keep our deputies, both full-time and reserves, abreast of new laws and techniques. Cultural diversity training will assure that all the citizens of Lake Charles are treated fairly and equally. Alternative sentencing – I have proposed to the City Judges a “Marshal’s Alternative Sentencing Program” to aid citizens on fixed incomes or are otherwise unable to pay fines and fee for minor offenses. For instance, a person receives a ticket for running a red light. Court costs are $155.00 and the actual fine is $50, totaling $205.00. Being on a low fixed income, you decide to pay your rent, buy food, clothe yourself and family, pay utilities or pay other life-supporting bills – deciding to do that and ignore the court date. A warrant is issued, a fee of $100.00 is added to your charges, and the failure to pay notice is sent to the State. The State in turn suspends your driver’s license and the reinstatement fee is $100.00. We’re now up to $405.00! You now get caught driving and get a ticket for driving while under suspension. The costs continue to snowball! Not to mention the costs to the offices involved. Knowing the offender’s income, the Judge could offer alternative sentencing. If accepted and approved, the offender would pay a registration fee of $25.00 to the Marshal’s Office. That money would be used to pay a Reserve Deputy for supervising the offender(s) while they participate in community service. Nothing dangerous; nothing demeaning to the individual; just contribution of their time, which will take the place of fees and fines. Everyone wins! Junior Deputy Marshal Program – I intend to start a Junior Deputy Marshal Program. While similar to the Sheriff’s program, we would get the children involved in community affairs and award for good behavior and those that excel scholastically. Local ministers, reserve deputies, full-time deputies, and other citizens have already offered their assistance in this program. Our children are our future! Keeping the Public Informed – While the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office is not an investigative agency, it is my intent to work with local media and other agencies on a regular basis to inform and educate our citizens in areas of high interest. For instance, phone scams! It is difficult for local agencies to bring these culprits to justice because the perpetrators are many times located in other countries. I would make myself and my agency available to any citizen with concerns or questions about these or any other concerns.

· Brad Harris (R): I want the Marshal’s office to be more visible within the community. I want the community to know that their Marshal’s Office is there to protect and service them. I will engage both public and civic leaders for ideas to aid in this task. One way I will accomplish this mission is to engage the Reserve Deputy Marshal in more than just parade security. I also love the idea of the Marshal’s Office having its own junior deputy program.

· Jeff Hooper (R): My goals would be to work with local leaders in meeting the needs of the community and implementing a payment deferment program for those unable to meet their full fine at the time of their court date. Also, I would like to implement a Marshal’s JR Deputy program to teach our youth the primary duties of the Marshals Office and how we can better serve our community. The changes I would like to see is using the Marshals Office resources in the community to help with crime deterrence. Also, to better train deputy Marshals and community policing.

· Nathan Keller (D): The Interstate 210 project - I’ve been in meetings and I understand the strain this project will have on both local law enforcement and the Ward 3 community. The projected time frame on this project is 12 to 18 months. For public safety, approximately 10 officers will be required to work this detail until completion. I plan to have Deputy Marshals be Department of Public Safety-trained in traffic control like other law enforcement agencies. This training gives them the ability to step in and assist when needed. Preparation is a priority. Training - Every full-time deputy working the road will have Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). This training will educate Deputy Marshals on how to deal with the mentally ill. Under my command at the police department over one-fourth of my patrolmen were required to attend this training. This training will educate the deputy how to identify, and use both verbal, and nonverbal techniques to defuse a situation. This is done to reduce the risk of our deputies being harmed and being better prepared to serve the public in crisis situations. This training will be a valuable tool for courtroom security and serving evictions. The goal is for the Officer to go home safely and the subject to get the medical attention needed. Divide reserve Deputy Marshals into Tier One and Tier Two sectors - Definition of Tiers: Tier One Deputy Marshals are deputies interested in becoming full-time Deputy Marshals or Police Officers. They will be afforded additional training. This training will consist of basic and advanced patrol skills, community policing philosophy, DOT training, Critical Incident Training (CIT), and other courses that are available from local agencies. Tier Two Reserve Deputy Marshals are deputies that have no desire to become full-time Officers. These are persons with full-time jobs, retired military or retired police officers, who see the need to assist local law enforcement. Their assistance will be utilized for various events such as but not limited to: parades, church functions, charity walks/runs, and any other event in which our services are needed. Improve and introduce new social media connections - Social media has become an integral part of life for many. It is imperative that we keep the community informed and connected with events that are occurring with the Ward 3 Marshal in a simple yet current fashion. This site will have a description of the Marshal’s duties, information about the Marshal, current events, the Marshal’s strategic plan and goals for the office, new laws that have come into effect, links to direct the public to important documents and information as well as a step by step eviction process to educate rental property owners as well as the tenants.

· Bill Pousson (D): I would like to increase the reserve division, address the Marshal’s pay and have deputy marshals patrol areas where home invasions seem to be occurring. Having deputy marshals visiting with residents in different neighborhoods for input. I feel the deputies on the streets are the ambassadors for the office, which should bring good results. We should try to implement community service programs, where offenders could serve to offset fines and fees. I have found too many times, young people make a bad choice and the parents or grandparents have to pay the money and the child has not been held accountable for their actions.

· Vic Salvador (R): Beyond seeking a legislative solution to cap the marshal’s salary, if I am elected Marshal, the office will no longer participate in the L.A.C.E. (Local Area Compensated Enforcement) program which is a traffic ticket-writing program that pays overtime to off-duty officers. The Marshal’s Office does not have a traffic enforcement division. Marshal vehicles are not equipped with radars or cameras to document the traffic violation or the deputy marshal’s interaction with the public. Furthermore, issuing traffic citations does not serve the mission of the Marshal’s Office which is to serve as an arm of city court, provide courtroom security and serve court papers; therefore, equipping vehicles and officers to make traffic stops is not fiscally responsible. I am very excited about the Reserve Deputy Program and a potential partnership with McNeese and Sowela. In a few years, state law will require new Reserve deputies to attend the full-time police academy, currently 15 weeks long. Most current Reserve Deputy Marshals will be unable to do so because they already have full-time jobs and volunteer in the Reserve Division, without pay. I intend to partner with McNeese, and hopefully Sowela, to continue the Reserve Deputy Program with criminal justice students. I would pay their tuition to attend the police academy and they could receive college credit toward their degree for their attendance. They would then be a fully certified officer and able to gain police experience as a Reserve Deputy Marshal. The community benefits from their volunteer service, and McNeese and Sowela benefit by graduating a fully certified, experienced officer who will be “job ready.” The student benefits because he or she will be highly sought after in the job market because, not only are they college educated, but certified and experienced. I intend to use the surplus funds created by capping the Marshal’s salary to fund the program at no added expense to the people of Ward 3.

KPLC reported earlier this year that the next marshal is expected to make about $200,000 annually. Do you think that this is a fair salary?

· Karl Gillard (R): The Marshal’s annual base salary is $15,641.00 ($7.50 per hour). This is a combined salary from the City of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. The remainder of the salary is set by law and fluctuates yearly based on commissions and fees. In 2005, a law was passed allowing the Marshal to take any portion of his salary to be placed into a special account, which could be used to supplement deputy’s pay or other needs of the office. Keeping that in mind, I commit to placing a personal cap on the Marshal’s salary matching that of the City Judges and the overage being placed into the special account.

· Brad Harris (R): Obviously the Marshal’s responsibilities are not as great as Parish Sheriff. The current Marshal actually helped get a law passed where the Marshal can donate a portion of his salary to the department. I plan to continue this tradition and donate a portion of my salary to my employees. I have heard others talk about working to get the current laws changed to cap the Marshal’s salary. Here are the facts. The Marshal’s salary is actually only $15,000 a year. The rest comes from commissions off of court cost, fines and service fees. Not tax payer money. State Law determines how the Marshal is paid, it is not a local matter. To change the way the Marshal is paid you would have to change how all Marshal’s in the State of Louisiana are paid. That is why I plan to donate a portion of my salary to my employees which would be public knowledge.

· Jeff Hooper (R): No I do not and I will look at every option to use a portion of that salary to supplement deputies pay.

· Nathan Keller (D): No, I think the salary is excessive. I commend Marshal Alcede for having legislation passed that allowed him to supplement the salary of his deputies. This allowed him to raise the salary of deputies to a competitive rate at no expense to the taxpayer.

· Bill Pousson (D): The Marshal should never make more than the Sheriff. The money could be used to increase salaries and the number of deputies.

· Vic Salvador (R): No! And, in fact, the Marshal’s salary will be closer to $300,000 this year and expected to continue to grow in the coming years due to our local economy. I was the first candidate to announce that, if elected, I would cap my salary. And, I am the only candidate who has said I will seek a change in the law to ensure the Marshal’s salary is capped at a reasonable level no matter who holds the office. I have spoken with local legislators and I would seek a legal mandate that sets a fair Marshal’s salary. I want to ensure that no matter who the Marshal is, he or she does not decide his own salary.

* NOTE: Jimmy Richard did not respond to KPLC’s questionnaire.

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