David Leonard, far left, was appointed Berwick police chief during Tuesday’s town council meeting. Also pictured, from left, are former chiefs James Richard, Duval Arthur, Ovay Rogers and Nolan Brashear. Richard is now on the Berwick council, and Arthur is mayor. (The Daily Review/Zachary Fitzgerald)

David Leonard named Berwick police chief

The last 44 years of the town of Berwick’s police chiefs were on hand at Tuesday’s council meeting to see the appointment of a new chief.

The newly sworn-in town council unanimously approved new Mayor Duval Arthur’s appointment of David Leonard as police chief. In attendance were four former Berwick police chiefs, including new Councilman James Richard, who just retired as chief at the end of 2018, and Arthur.

Richard had been police chief since 2004. Arthur was chief from 1998-2004.

Also there were former chiefs Ovay Rogers, who was chief from 1978-98, and Nolan Brashear, who served in that capacity from 1975-78.

Leonard, 53, has worked for the Berwick Police Department for over 31 years and had served the last 14 years as assistant chief. He grew up in Berwick and began his public service as a 16-year-old working for the town fire department.

Rogers first hired Leonard, who also worked for Arthur and Richard. Public service “has been my life and my dream,” Leonard said.

Leonard plans to eventually name a new assistant police chief, but that decision won’t come immediately.

“I’m blessed having a department of talented individuals, so I’m not going to make any rash judgments,” he said.

Leonard knows many of the residents in Berwick, and police have a good relationship with them. Police also work well with surrounding law enforcement agencies in the area, he said.

Some of Leonard’s priorities as chief are for officers to use the technology available to best do their jobs and ensure safety in the schools and of residents in the community.

“We’re going to still be a community-based, oriented department. We’re here to serve the citizens in any capacity that we can,” he said.

The council approved a list of other mayoral appointments that included Councilman Lud Henry as mayor pro-tem, Jamie Keith as town clerk and Troy Lombardo to the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission.

In other business, the council

—Approved the appointment of Leonard to the Berwick Housing Authority Board and reappointment of Venessa Romero to the board.

—Approved payment to Bihm Contractors in the amount of $78,596.02 for work on the Old Spanish Trail and La. 182 sewer project.

—Approved payment to St. Mary Parish Government in the amount of $53,627.40 for the Gilmore Street and Boudreaux Street drainage project.

—Heard from resident Juanita Fromenthal about street repair and drainage issues on Oregon Street. Arthur said officials would look into those issues Wednesday.

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