The Monroe City Council approved Victor “Vic” Zordan’s appointment as chief of police Tuesday night on a 4-1 vote at its regular meeting.
Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis announced Zordan’s appointment Oct. 16 following a week of interviews of police chief applicants by the mayor and a committee of top officials designated by the mayor.
Before the vote to approve Zordan’s appointment, City Council members and area residents questioned Zordan about his views on police brutality.
The Monroe Police Department came under close scrutiny earlier this year after a police brutality complaint came to light. Former Monroe police officer Jared DeSadier was arrested for using excessive force in the arrest of Timothy Williams, who was shown in a body cam video lying on the ground when DeSadier appeared to kick him in the face.
Verbon Muhammad, of Monroe, asked the City Council to reject Zordan’s appointment since his background was unknown to the African American community.
“Give him an opportunity to come into the black community,” Muhammad said. “We don’t know who he is. We don’t know enough about this chief. We’re not saying he’s not qualified. We’re just saying we don’t know enough about him.”
“We need to know his position on police brutality,” he added.
City Councilwoman Gretchen Ezernack asked law enforcement officers who were in attendance to offer remarks about Zordan’s character and qualifications.
Monroe Police officer Scotty Sadler spoke about Zordan’s leadership and explained the department needed a chief now.
According to Sadler, Zordan was the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent he corresponded with while he worked as an agent on the Ouachita Parish Metro Narcotics Unit.
“He was my mentor when it came to doing my job,” Sadler said. “A ship can’t run its course without its captain. The Monroe Police Department has been without a captain for quite some time. The sailors need to do their job and they don’t know how to do it without a captain.”
According to Zordan, his priority was to make residents feel safe in their homes.
“I want to be the voice for the people that want to go down the street and enjoy themselves, want to go to a ball game and come home and not come home to a home that’s been broken into,” Zordan said.
City Council member Carday Marshall asked Zordan to define his position on police brutality.
“Police brutality is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in this administration,” Zordan said. “The minute I find out about it, it will be addressed quickly.”
City Council members Marshall, Ezernack, Kema Dawson and Doug Harvey voted in favor of Zordan’s appointment.
City Councilwoman Juanita Woods voted against it.
Woods explained she voted against Zordan’s appointment because her constituents believed the process selecting him appeared rushed. Her constituents also knew little about him, she said.
“Since I have been on the council, and I’m on my second term, I have never received so many calls and texts from my constituents,” Woods said. “My constituents are concerned about the rush of this appointment. They would like to have more time to talk to you before going in.”
Ellis appointed Zordan as chief of police after a lengthy police search process that began in February after former Chief Eugene Ellis retired. At the time, then-Mayor Jamie Mayo appointed Cpl. Reginald “Reggie” Brown to serve as interim police chief and was believed to be Mayo’s favorite for the job. After Ellis defeated Mayo in the mayoral election in July, Ellis removed Brown as interim chief and appointed Eugene Ellis to serve as interim chief. Eugene Ellis has served in that role until Zordan could take on his new role.
After the meeting, Zordan told The Ouachita Citizen his first goal was improving morale within the department.
“I want to get the morale up in the department,” Zordan said. “You get the morale up in the department, you’ll start getting a better product and treating the citizens better.”
Zordan also explained he would like to increase patrols in the city as soon as possible.
“If I could get 10 or 15 in academy in January, then that’s a really good start,” Zordan said. “But we need about 40 more.”