Joseph “J.B.” Cormier is the only challenger Earl “Nickey” Picard has ever faced in his 24 years as City Marshal. The two first squared off in 1996, a race that the incumbent Picard won with 74 percent of the vote. On Friday, Cormier qualified to once again challenge Picard for the seat. Cormier stresses he is now more experienced and prepared for the job. He also suggests its time for a changing of the guard. “I’m prepared to re-energize that office,” Cormier says. “Every day the criminal justice system is changing and we must change with it.” He lists better coordination with the sheriff’s office and city police, as well as increased transparency and openness as his top priorities for the marshal’s office. Cormier is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, who retired as chief of detectives for city police in 1987. Cormier, 61, also spent four years with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and nine year’s with the state Attorney General’s Office. He now works as a private investigator and consultant.
Picard says he is running for re-election on a strong record and that the City Marshal's office has been distinguished nationally under his watch. Last year, the office became the first in the state to earn a Recognition Award from the Commission on Accreditations for Law Enforcement Agencies. Picard, 76, has 55 years of law enforcement experience, beginning as a state trooper in 1953. He served as Lafayette’s first city court administrator from 1980 to 1984. Contrary to rumor, Picard says he has not been contemplating retirement and still feels he is the best qualified to run the marshal’s office. “I have no intention of retiring,” he says. “I still have the desire to serve the public. As long as my health holds up and we continue to make progressive strides with this office, I hope to continue to do so.”