Franklinton police chief Justin Brown has been informed that he will not be retained in his position by the new mayor, Greg Route.
Sources indicated that Route plans to release Brown and bring back former Police Chief Olander Smith to replace Brown.
Brown's position is expected to be discussed at Tuesday's (January 12) meeting of the Mayor and Aldermen. The 6:30 pm meeting is open to the public and it is expected to produce discussion about Brown's position. Sources close to several of the Franklinton Aldermen indicated that there is concern among some of the Aldermen about the change in police chiefs.
Brown became Franklinton's Police Chief in February 2019. He was appointed by former Mayor Richard Dillon after then-Chief Olander Smith resigned to run for Washington Parish Sheriff. Smith lost the election to the incumbent sheriff, Randy Seal.
When Route was elected mayor of Franklinton in November, he said some changes could be expected at City Hall. However, because Brown has been an apparent popular Police Chief with a strong rapport with both his employees and the citizens, it wasn't expected that Route's changes would include Brown's departure. Sources have indicated that Route was not displeased with Brown, but simply wanted a change. He apparently offered Brown a demotion instead of outright termination.
Photo: Franklinton Police Chief Justin Brown
Both Route and Brown have been contacted for comments and when they comment this article will be updated. It will also be updated following Tuesday's meeting of the Franklinton Mayor and Aldermen.
On Sunday, January 10, Mayor Greg Route offered the following comment:
“When I was elected as Mayor I stated, “ I will re-Route the town of Franklinton!” In order to re-Route the town , I have to initiate a team of trustworthy individuals to collaborate on one accord and accomplish planned goals . As mayor, I have the right to hire a chief of police, town lawyer and a town clerk without the alderman’s approval.
I have decided to replace Chief of Police Justin Brown and bring back former Chief of Police Olander Smith. I met with Chief Brown this past July and again this past Tuesday, I felt our goals for the town and police department are divergent in many ways but, I did offer him another job within the police department. After interviewing with Mr. Olander Smith, our goals for the police department and our town are on one accord and in compliance.
As mayor, I plan to lead the town of Franklinton forward in a positive direction. We, as mayor and board of alderman’s must work as a team and not be divided. This information was intended to be confidential until Tuesday January 12, 2021, but someone thought otherwise. I only disclosed this information with Chief Justin Brown and interviewee , Mr. Olander Smith. In relation to the one alderman who contacted the newspaper ahead of time to cause confusion due to personal disagreement with my decision shows lack of unity already. I believe in order to execute an effective team there should be no division.
As mayor, I made the most effective decision that will make a positive outlook on our community! It is time to re-Route this town in the most efficient way and move forward in 2021 and years to come. We must establish trust and unity within the board and the community. Then and only then will we be able to achieve measurable goals with insightful visions.”