The Advocate: Voters elect Carl Dunn as Baker’s new police chief; Dawn Collins elected to East Baton Rouge School Board

The Advocate: Voters elect Carl Dunn as Baker’s new police chief; Dawn Collins elected to East Baton Rouge School Board

Voters elected Carl Dunn as the new police chief in the city of Baker on Saturday, while also picking Dawn Collins as the next East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member representing District 4.

The north Baton Rouge-based School Board seat was left vacant by board veteran Tarvald Smith’s election last fall as a City Court judge. Collins and Robert Maxie, both Democrats who have had children in the public school system, sought the seat.

Collins, who has been active in the school system for years, had the support of traditional public education advocates. She recently served on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ education transition team.

In the police chief race — one of several municipal races in Baker — Dunn, a former Baton Rouge police officer, faced off against a longtime veteran of the Baker agency, Darryl Rainwater. The seat was left vacant by the retirement of Police Chief Mike Knaps, who had endorsed Rainwater.

Dunn said he offered voters a change in direction, saying he envisioned a culture shake-up at the department that would emphasize more interaction between officers and residents. During the campaign, he emphasized his decades within the Baton Rouge Police Department, working in some of the city’s most crime-intensive zones.

Along with selecting a police chief, two candidates for mayor — Darnell “DA-1” Waites and Leroy Davis — each received enough votes to move on to compete in the April 9 runoff election. Current mayor Harold Rideau is retiring.

Davis, 71, who served as Baker mayor from 2001 to 2004, has said he would get the city’s finances in order. Waites, 55, has recently worked as administrative officer under Rideau and said he would focus on economic development.

Councilwoman Joyce Burges and Carlon “Frank” Simpson came in third and fourth, respectively.

Voters also elected two members to sit on the five district Baker council Saturday, while sending candidates for three district seats to the April runoff.

In District 1, incumbent Charles Vincent defeated challenger Admon McCastle.

In District 2, incumbent Pete Heine will face Cleveland Thomas in a runoff.

In District 3, Glenda Bryant and Troy Watson will compete in a runoff.

In District 4, Baker School Board member Doris Alexander and council incumbent Robert Young will be in a runoff.

In District 5, challenger Brenda G. Jackson defeated incumbent John Givens.

All of the candidates in the Baker races were Democrats.

Advocate staff writer Charles Lussier contributed to this story.


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