Banks named chief
From left, Morgan City Chief Administrative Officer Marc Folse, a former Morgan City police chief; Morgan City Police Capt. Mark Griffin Jr.; and newly-appointed Morgan City Police Chief Michael Banks talk after Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)
Morgan City Police Chief Michael Banks is with his family after Tuesday’s council meeting. From left, Banks’ son, Michael Banks Jr.; Banks; Banks’ wife, Theresa Banks; and Banks’ daughter, Trez Banks.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)
Michael Banks was appointed police chief during Tuesday’s city council meeting less than a month after he began leading the department as assistant chief since former Police Chief Travis Crouch’s death Jan. 31.
After talking with several the high ranking officers in the police department, Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said going ahead and appointing a new police chief was important.
“I have come to a conclusion that our highest ranking officer deserves this opportunity to be the police chief,” Grizzaffi said.
Grizzaffi recommended appointing Banks, formerly assistant chief, as chief. The council approved the recommendation unanimously.
Banks, 54, has worked for the Morgan City Police Department for more than 30 years after starting as the animal warden in November 1983. He is Morgan City’s first black police chief. Crouch appointed Banks assistant chief on July 26, 2013.
“I’m still learning. To this very day I’m learning. I’ve never held a chief’s position before,” Banks said. “I’m bound to make a mistake, but if I make a mistake trying to do what’s right, I can live with that.”
Banks said he was “very honored beyond belief” to be appointed police chief. Banks and Crouch basically had the same vision for the department, Banks said. “He was a spark. He reignited a flame that had been slowly withering. The direction will be the same ... We have the same goals in mind, but we arrive there differently,” Banks said.
The new chief wants police officers to be accessible to the community and wants officers and community members to know one another, he said.
Banks’ base pay will be a $70,656 annual salary not including extra benefits, Grizzaffi said.
Banks said he is going to continue the programs that Crouch implemented. “Neighborhood watch is something that we’ve had in the past. Everything that Chief Crouch reinstituted, we have had before,” Banks said. “But for whatever reason, the administration of the town set those programs aside. They are excellent programs. They are good for the community.”
The neighborhood watch program, bicycle patrol and DWI patrol are all aimed at helping the community, Banks said.
Banks’ appointment as police chief “will take a minute to sink in,” he said. His ultimate goal is to provide residents with a police department they can trust and depend on, he said.
Banks also plans to continue the department’s use of social media through its website, Facebook page, mobile phone app and Twitter, he said. “They did open us up to the community, and it’s a wonderful thing,” Banks said.
Banks said he is too new as police chief to know if he will institute any new programs or initiatives. Banks, who does not have an assistant chief, needs to put his command staff together so the staff can make good decisions, he said.
After Crouch’s death, Grizzaffi said city officials moved quickly to figure out how a new chief should be appointed, either advertise for the position outside the department or look within the department
Banks has done a remarkable job over the three weeks he took over since Crouch’s death, Grizzaffi said. “I think he’s earned the right to have the opportunity to be the chief of police here in the City of Morgan City,” Grizzaffi said.
Tuesday’s council meeting ended with a resolution of respect for Crouch. “Travis will be remembered here at the city for a long time for what he has done in his 10 months of being the chief of police,” Grizzaffi said. “During the interview process, he told me two things. One is he’s going to make me look good … and he did just that. After he was selected chief, he said he was going to have my back and that he did.”
In other business, the council:
—Approved the city closing Everett Street on April 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Lirette Ford’s Cajun Wounded Warriors Car Show.
—Approved the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau to hold a jet-ski event May 1 to May 4 at Lake End Parkway.
—Approved the finance committee’s recommendations to allocate $15,000 from the recreation fund to finish lighting at Cypress Park.
—Approved the city’s Health Plan Management Consultant/Servicing Agent Agreement with Paul’s Agency to provide services to assist in administering the city’s health insurance plan through April 30, 2015, at a rate of $2.75 per month per covered employee, retiree or beneficiary.
—Approved renewing the city’s health insurance policy with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana with no increase in premiums.
—Approved a resolution to accept a 2012 four-door Chevy Silverado truck donation to the fire department.
—Approved an ordinance to change the zoning designation of 702 Youngs Road from residential use to heavy industrial use.