St. George Mayor & Police Chief
St. George Police Chief Todd Morris (left) & Mayor Dustin Yates (right)

Governor appoints EBRSO major as police chief, fire administrator as first mayor of St. George

BATON ROUGE– Gov. Jeff Landry announced the appointment of the Interim Mayor and Chief of Police for the City of St. George Tuesday.

Landry appointed Dustin Yates as the interim mayor and Todd Morris as the St. George police chief.

St. George Mayor & Police Chief
St. George Police Chief Todd Morris (left) & Mayor Dustin Yates (right)

“Chief Morris and Mayor Yates have the experience needed to fill these roles—especially during this important time of transition,” Landry said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to the work they will do to ensure St. George is a safe and thriving community.”

“I’m very humbled by the whole process,” Yates told UWK. “I know there’s a lot of work ahead of us, and I look forward to collaborating with everyone to ensure St. George gets up on the right foot and builds the foundation for future success.”

Yates, 44, was born and raised in New Orleans, where he attended and graduated from Jesuit High School. He graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2002 with a bachelor’s in education. He taught and coached in public school for four years before entering the fire service with the St. George Fire Department.

He is serving his 19th year with the St. George Fire Department, where he held the positions of firefighter/operator, Lieutenant, and chief administrative officer. He continued his education with an associate’s degree in fire science and graduated from the executive fire officer program at the National Fire Academy in Maryland.

He has been involved with the City of St. George since the original petition drive in 2013. 

“This is new to me. I wish there were a rule book out there for me to follow, so this will be a step-by-step process where we take it one day at a time. We said from the beginning that this would be different, so I’m not a politician. I look forward to serving with others as we embark on this next chapter in our journey,” Yates added to UWK.

Major Todd Morris has 34 years of experience in law enforcement. He is currently the Chief of Crimes against Persons and Special Operations for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

Maj. Morris began his career with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. He served eight years as an investigator with the Louisiana Department of Justice and two years as an EBRSO reserve deputy.

Throughout his 26 years with the Sheriff’s Office, he served in multiple units, including uniform patrol, general detectives, armed robbery & burglary, and homicide, among others. He was the first commander of the homicide/Violent Crimes Unit, where he served for eight years, first formed in 2008. Morris has served on three separate multi-agency serial killer task forces, which led to the arrest of all three suspects. 

“I would like to thank Governor Landry for this appointment and trusting in me,” Morris said in a statement. “I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve as the first Chief of Police for the City of St. George. I have called this community home for the past 40 years. I am excited to bring my 34 years of law enforcement experience to serve the citizens of St. George. I am committed to working collaboratively with our residents, business owners, Sheriff Gautreaux, and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, as well as the community leaders, to ensure St. George is a safe, welcoming, and thriving city for all.”

Both men must now be sworn in and a date has not been set at this time. After they are sworn in, they must hit the ground running. Both men will serve as interim mayor and police chief until an election is called, something the newly appointed men must set a date for. At that time, the citizens of St. George will vote for all elected positions.

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled to incorporate the City of St. George in April.

In a 4-3 decision, state supreme court justices found a “legal error” and reversed lower court rulings that prevented incorporation.

Despite not having official leadership before Gov. Landry’s appointment, the city’s Transition District committee has already created a 150-page plan for the new government. Organizers say the plan will not be available until the transition team and the new city government approve it.

Landry will also need to appoint five council members per Louisiana law. The first election will then be when the mayor and council set it. The earliest it could be would be Nov. 5, which is the upcoming primary.

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