SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - It's a new era in Sulphur as Lewis Coats is sworn in as police chief during a special Tuesday city council session.
Coats was picked by Mayor Chris Duncan from a field of seven candidates. The council unanimously ratified the appointment.
"I'm going to do the best I can to make everybody proud," said Coats.
Coats, 38, replaces former Chief Chris Abrahams, who was relieved of his duties earlier this year. Handing over the badge was Mel Estess, who filled in as provisional chief the last six months.
"I never thought I would be wearing this badge. ... I had a lot of support from the inside and a lot of support from family and friends. They asked me to consider it. I gave great thought about it. I felt like I could fill the shoes of this department," said Coats.
It's a department Coats has been absent from for two years, having taken time off to start a family business. Coats started with Sulphur police the day after graduating high school in 1992 as a reserve officer, eventually working his way up to sergeant. He said he is honored to be chief and is ready get to work and serve the city again.
"Short term is work on public relations and giving back to the community through the department and the long term (objective) is to keep the department moving forward and try to make it a model agency in Louisiana," said Coats. "I would also like to thank the people of Sulphur for the support that has been shown to the mayor and the city council through this whole deal."
Meanwhile, Estess will continue to work with the Sulphur Police Department in his old capacity in media relations and help Coats during the transitional period.