PORT ALLEN, LA (NBC33) — Sergeant Ken Bates was voted as the new interim police chief in Port Allen at Wednesday's city council meeting, but the council's decision didn't sit well with several members of the community.
Citizens stood in open opposition, challenging the council's choice at the meeting. They say that Bates has a bad reputation in the community, and they're concerned that his alleged conduct will continue, as chief.
"I just don't know what it will take to get back on track,” said Verna Dogan, a concerned resident. “A lot of prayers are needed."
The citizens didn’t elaborate on their allegations about the new interim chief, but didn’t hold back from letting council members hear their issues.
"So now we got a chief that treats the public bad,” said Doloris Kibby. “So my prayer tonight is I hope he's better as chief than he is a police officer."
Council members contend that although several people showed interest in the job, the chief must have lived in Port Allen for the previous 12 months.
Coucilman Hugh Riviere nominated Bates, and said after speaking with people from the Attorney General's and Secretary of State's Office, that the law was clear.
"It was my decision, from talking to Mayor Loupe and others, that only one who met the criteria, was Ken Bates," said Councilman Riviere.
Bates will be replacing former chief Fred Smith, who was forced to resign after being convicted of federal charges during operation "Blighted Officials."
NBC33 News reached out to Interim Chief Bates for this story, but he declined an interview.