Delgado fires police chief accused of misusing state resources

Delgado fires police chief over detail for former Xavier University chief

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Delgado Community College administrators terminated Chief of Police Julie Lea after an internal investigation into the chief's conduct.

"It has been determined that Ms. Lea's conduct is incompatible with the responsibilities of a Delgado employee, and is in violation of Louisiana Community and Technical College System Policy #6.025, Code of Conduct," according to Delgado Public Relations and Marketing Director Tony Cook.

Lea was suspended with pay on Jan. 18 pending the results of the internal investigation. She had served as chief since August 2015 and is a former NOPD officer.

The investigation started after Delgado officers were sent off campus to work a detail for the family of deceased Xavier University Police Chief Duane Carkum on the day of his funeral. Officers were sent to the homes of Carkum's mother and wife for five hours while on duty at Delgado.

According to a source, the officers were told to go to the homes in their personal vehicles, to remain on radio silence and not to tell their sergeants where they were.

"On Friday January 13th, as the result of an order issued by Ms. Lea, two Delgado police officers, both state employees, worked a private detail from 12:00 pm through 5:00 pm during their assigned shift. The internal investigation determined that assigning the officers to an off-campus site and to perform services for a private party is an inappropriate use of state resources, and constitutes utilization of campus police personnel outside of their statutory jurisdictional area," Cook said in a written statement.

Delgado's investigation determined that the safety of Delgado's campus was compromised due to the resulting shortage of officers working on Jan. 13.

"This type of behavior is unacceptable, particularly for a member of the College's administrative staff, and it is incompatible with the mission and values of the College. Delgado Community College takes seriously its responsibility to provide and maintain a safe environment for all persons engaged in activities on our campuses, and to use state resources appropriately and effectively," Cook said.

In an email obtained by FOX 8 that was sent to the former chief on Jan. 17, Duane Carkum's son, Curtis Carkum, thanked Lea for sending the officers to the home of his grandmother and stepmother for protection against burglars. Curtis Carkum also wrote asking how he should pay for the officers' time. Curtis Carkum is also employed by Xavier University.

Xavier did receive relief from other local agencies, including Delgado, but only for on-campus duties during the funeral and were not involved in any other arrangement, according to Xavier's Director of Communications and Media Relations Richard Tucker.

Delgado administrators said Steven Cazaubon is supervising the department until an interim chief can be named, which will be as soon as possible. Cazaubon was Lea's supervisor.

Lea is also the co-founder of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx. The Delgado investigation had no connection to any activity regarding the Krewe of Nyx, according to Cook.

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