LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - As Election Day nears, people are making their final decisions for races across the state.
In this year’s race for Westlake Police Chief, the candidates are planning on taking two very different paths if elected.
West Lake Police Chief Chris Wilrye has been in office since 2014.
"Four years ago when I came in, the city was not in a good financial shape,” Wilrye said.
Since then, Wilrye says he has been able to work with the city to improve their financial capabilities and the police department.
“We’ve upgraded computer systems, new cars, and new laptop computers for the guys to be able to be out in the field to do reports,” Wilrye said. “We got new tasers—just a plethora of things.”
Through donations, Chief Wilrye says they have received more than $400,000 of new equipment.
“We’ve upgraded to a new system—an actual cased system where the guys can get their calls dispatched to them over the computer system,” Wilrye said. “Do their reports right there on scene where they are more visible and that was really important to us.”
Running against the chief is Corporal Jason Ledet, who says his focus isn't on police technology but rather police interactions
“There’s more that can be done with the youth,” Ledet said. “We are not in the community as we should be as a police department. There should be more community policing.”
Ledet came back Westlake to join the police force eight years ago after serving in the U.S. Army. Seeing the violence in our world, especially when it involves young people, led Ledet to take a proactive approach with the youth rather than reactive.
“We should already be there, talking to them and letting them know about gun violence and the law and how we can reach them as juveniles on a personal level,” Ledet said.
Both Westlake natives say they are just looking to do what they feel is best for their community.
"I just don’t want to be the person who says there’s something wrong and do nothing about it,” Ledet said. “I’m gonna be here for Westlake regardless."
“If I can help one person to better their day, that makes me feel good,” Wilrye said. “It’s all about helping somebody and making them better; that’s the role of law enforcement.”
If elected, both candidates say they plan to be extremely accessible to the citizens of Westlake for any concerns or comments.