Police chief to be decided

Wade McIntyre
Chris Anderson, left, and Sherman Jackson

With the retirement of long-time Gonzales Police Chief Bill Landry, two veterans of the city police department are running for the vacated position in the Oct. 4 election.

Chris Anderson, 32, and Sherman Jackson, 38, are both graduates of East Ascension High School.

Anderson attended Holmes Community College in Mississippi, and the Louisiana State University Post Training Academy, and has worked in the patrol department for the past 12 years. He is currently Grand Knight of the St. Theresa Knights of Columbus Council and a member of the police department Fraternal Order of Police.

Jackson, a graduate of the LSU Department of Justice Command and the LSU Basic Training Academy. He has served as a team leader of the department, Special Operations Team, is a past president of the Gonzales Fraternal Order of police and currently serves on the executive board of the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police.

Anderson said the biggest issue facing the police department is a shortage of patrolmen and the need for more building facilities. Additional patrolmen would allow the department to operate its own narcotics unit within city limits.

“We need one here in the city limits,” he said.

Expansion of the department traffic division also requires more patrolmen, Anderson said. “We need four guys working 12 hour traffic shifts, not two working 8-hour shifts like we have now. Traffic is the major concern of our citizens.”

Jackson said he feels the biggest issue is a need to change the organizational ranking structure of the department in order to enhance accountability and provide better service to the city. He said he will also upgrade training procedures and strive to have one of the most professional, best trained police offices in the state. “In stressful situations you rely on training to make decisions,” he said.

Jackson said if elected, he would improve policy procedure in order to minimize liability to the both the city and officers.

Anderson, a hunter education instructor for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said that if elected he will modernize record keeping in the department by tying record access to the Internet so officers working in the field will have better access to information needed.

He also said he would explore options with department vehicles in order to improve fuel economy. Both Chevrolet and Ford make smaller vehicles with improved fuel mileage over full-sized police vehicles, he said.

“We average six to eight miles per gallon with our Crown Victoria’s,” Anderson said. “Fuel is a concern of a lot of people.”

Jackson, a five-year veteran of the United States Army who was deployed in Iraq during Operation: Desert Storm, said fighting for his country helped instill in him the importance and value of fighting for the things Americans believe in. He cited his post-war experience in various community organizations, including serving on the Gonzales Civil Service Board, as s member of the Ascension Council on Aging and working as mentor with the Louisiana National Guard youth Challenge Program.