Holden: BR police chief search narrowed to 3

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden said Tuesday he has narrowed his search for Baton Rouge’s next police chief to three finalists and plans to announce a selection early next week.

The finalists are Provisional Chief Carl Dabadie, Capt. Carl K. Dunn and Capt. Noel J. Salamoni.

Dunn and Salamoni outscored Dabadie by one point on the civil service exam, but Dabadie, whose father served in the department and was killed in the line of duty, has been widely viewed as the frontrunner to succeed former Police Chief Dewayne White.

“We’ve just finished interviewing three candidates and they all did well,” Holden said, referring to closed-door interviews he conducted with William Daniel, his chief administrative officer. “We will now begin to analyze the answers that they gave to certain questions and name a person by the early part of next week.”

Each finalist has a different approach to law enforcement, Holden said, “but overall all of them have the betterment of the Police Department and public safety” in mind. The department has more than 600 officers.

“One of the key things first is to make sure the morale is lifted in the Police Department,” Holden said. “If you have good morale, (officers) are more amenable to doing the assignments handed down to them.”

Holden also is looking for a chief who will emphasize community policing and build rapport with residents.

Holden fired White in February for insubordination, accusing him of making inappropriate transfers, showing favoritism to a hire and violating a list of departmental policies. White accused the mayor of micromanaging the department.

The three finalists were drawn from a list of 11 candidates who passed the civil service exam May 22. In a departure from previous police chief searches, Holden did not rely on an advisory committee to assist in this search.

“I wanted to just block myself off from a lot of other people,” Holden said. “Everybody has more than one opinion about things, and I didn’t want to be influenced by a set of outsiders.”

Holden said he has been pleased with Dabadie’s performance at the helm, but added he hopes whoever he chooses will “sit down and talk with the other two people who are finalists and listen to some of their ideas.”

Cpl. Chris Stewart, president of the local police union, said the department will support whatever choice Holden makes.

“We intend on working hard with the new chief to continue working on positive changes,” Stewart said. “We assure the public that our organization has the best interest of the citizens we serve and our membership.”

Dunn serves as commander over the Police Department’s 1st District and has been with the department since July 1983. He was named Officer of the Year in 1986.

Salamoni is a former president of the Baton Rouge Union of Police Local 237 and has been with the department since 1981. He supervises the department’s Special Operations Division.

Dabadie, who was named interim chief on Feb. 20, has been with the department since 1986. He had served as chief of staff to White.

Dabadie also has served the department as a uniform patrol officer, motorcycle officer, academy staff instructor and academy director.