Calder Hebert St. Martinville's police chief
CHIEF OF POLICE Calder Hebert was appointed to his position permanently after serving as interim chief for the past two years. (Karl Jeter)
A vote at the April 18 City Council meeting made Police Chief Calder “Pop” Hebert’s interim appointment permanent.
Hebert, 48, was appointed in 2014 following the retirement of former chief Paula Smith. The appointment was expected to be made permanent as soon as civil service requirements were met. Hebert passed the required chief of police exam in December and time expired on Smith’s accrued sick leave, so the permanent appointment could go forward.
The chief’s office is an appointed rather than elected position, so Hebert will serve as chief until he retires, resigns or is replaced through another action of the council.
With one councilman absent, Hebert’s appointment passed with a 3-1 vote. District 4 representative Debra Landry proposed veteran SMPD officer Lance Laviolette, but no second to the motion was received. Landry’s “no” vote was the only dissent to Hebert’s permanent appointment.
Hebert is an 11-year Air Force veteran, a former U.S. marshal and worked at the St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning Department prior to his appointment as interim chief of police for the city.
In other business, an offer was made by Albert Greig to purchase the old Talley ice plant next to Festival Park. Greig told the council that his plans are to build a “small batch” rum distillery in the building.
Council members and legal counsel Allan Durand said that they are not at liberty to sell the property without a public bidding process, and that the city is in the process of devising a master plan for the entire property. The success of the new St. John Restaurant on the southeast corner of the property suggests that it may not be the “white elephant” it was once thought to be.
District 2 Councilman Craig Prosper said that the city plans to spend about $600,000 on upgrades to the bayou front area north of the bridge, including a permanent stage, rest rooms and remodeling the warehouse building on the festival grounds. Prosper said as much as $3 million may be invested over the coming ten to 15 years to provide for the mix of private business and public space being envisioned for the property.
The council expressed interest in Greig’s idea, but tabled his offer, saying it is too early in the city’s planning process to entertain purchase offers. Prosper said the area could prove to be a very important part of the revitalization of downtown St. Martinville.