LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Recruiting and retaining new police officers is one of the challenges that the new Lake Charles police administration will face, and there are others.
The Lake Charles Police Department is about eight officers short and incoming Chief Shawn Caldwell says it takes about a year for new officers to complete training so they can be put on the road and contribute. Caldwell says recruiting and retaining officers is a high priority.
“Staffing; we have to get out there and recruit. We have a shortage of police officers in this police department. These two guys come out of detectives, so we absolutely have a shortage in detectives,” Caldwell said.
Recruiting is something incoming deputy chief Mike Nicosia has experience with.
"I was a military law enforcement officer prior to my retirement in 2001. I was given orders to be a Navy recruiter in Lake Charles,” Nicosia said.
Incoming Deputy Chief Franklin Fondel wants to work with youth to strengthen the community.
"Being in school with them, working different events, in the church, knowing different parents. So, I just want to work closely with our juveniles,” Fondel said.
And they want to establish more close ties to the community.
” I just want to build that relationship and work along with the police officers and build their relationships with the public also because that’s something that’s very important," Fondel said.
“We have a great solve rate and that is because we have an interaction with the community we serve, and we want to continue that and improve on it," Caldwell said.
And the new chief plans to launch some new programs aimed at improving the department.
The incoming chief and deputy chiefs are expected to assume their new positions Jan. 16.