The Village of Anacoco held a runoff election on Saturday, April 28 in order to choose a chief of police.
Four men were in the running for the position – Mike Martin, Michael Sanders, Bradley Shores, and Jerry C. Waller.
Sanders and Waller received the most votes during the Vernon Parish Municipal Election on March 24. This landed them in the runoff election last weekend with Waller coming out the victor.
Sanders was a part time police officer for Anacoco but resigned after the election. “I’m kind of sad that he resigned and we didn’t have a chance to work together,” Waller said.
This is not Waller’s first time in the position. He was was the Anacoco police chief from January 1993 through July 1999.
Originally from Jacksonville, Fla., Waller ended up in the Vernon Parish area via Fort Polk as so many do. “In 1990, I was transferred to Korea. When I came back, I had to relocate my family here, but at the time there was no family housing on Fort Polk or in Leesville so that was closest place we could find there,” Waller said.
During active duty, he was already involved in local law enforcement work as he was a reserve officer with the Leesville Police Department from 1987 through 1991.
Waller retired from the Army at age 37 in 1992 after 20 years of service. He said Jack Martin, Anacoco’s police chief at the time, suggested he run for the Anacoco police chief position. He already lived in Anacoco so he went for it and ended up in the position for six-and-a-half years.
Even though Waller left for several years to care for his mother and stepfather in Florida, and worked in the healthcare industry, he eventually returned to Anacoco and to law enforcement.
“Serving your country is a fantastic thing,” Waller said. “I went from serving my country to serving the community of Anacoco. I just like helping people. I’m a people person.”
For the last two years, Waller has worked at the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office as a jailer and shift supervisor. “I resigned from there in order to run for police chief,” he said.
Now that he has been elected to be Anacoco’s police chief again, his promise to the community is that he will always be available when needed. “I want them to feel like they can call me at any time after the eighth of May and I’ll be able to assist them,” he said.
When Waller takes office, one of his goals is to increase the Anacoco police presence at vulnerable times, like at the open and close of businesses and during busy times at churches. He hopes to offer support to school resource officers as well.
“Anacoco is a small town but we are not immune to the things that happen around the world,” Waller said. “I want to support the churches by having an officer at each church in the mornings.”
His plan is to hire one part-time officer to start out with. “We will build and hire one more in five to six months,” Waller said.
He thanks everyone who came out to vote, no matter which way they voted. “I thank God because it was his will that this happened.”
Waller has six grown children in total, and 20 grandchildren.
“I can’t thank my wife Eva (originally from Ruston) enough for all her support during this election process,” Waller said.
He will be sworn in on Tuesday, May 8.