BRAVE says its efforts are working
BATON ROUGE - Law enforcement touted successes of the BRAVE program at a special meeting Tuesday night.
Since the inception of the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination, or BRAVE, agencies involved say efforts are working to bridge the gap between police and the community.
"When we first started in law enforcement, our answer to dealing with crime was to just flood the area," explained Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie. "What's different about BRAVE, is that we offer you an option."
Dabadie said instead of law enforcement simply flooding a problem area of the city, they're there to help and to offer a way out.
BRAVE teams visit schools, most recently Tara High School, where they speak to students in an effort to provide resources to those who need them.
"Some of these same young people that are in the high schools that we go visit already have criminal records, already have pending charges," said BRAVE 70805 Director Hebert "Tweety" Anny.
About two dozen people attended the BRAVE forum held Tuesday. Many were young professionals within the community.
Rashaud Red, a 16-year-old Mentorship Academy student who founded the 'I Am' initiative says he hopes to create a relationship between his fellow students and police.
"They're just like you and me, watching these stories about how people of color are being affected by police violence and brutality and they don't see anything good associated with them," said Red.
BRAVE has been in the community and providing intervention at schools to offer services where there has been criminal activity. That includes education, mentors, substance abuse and mental health therapy to those who need it. Not everyone takes advantage of what's offered.
"What we want is that when we come out, we're coming to help," said Dabadie. "We're not coming out to hurt anybody. We're coming out to help the situation."
Law enforcement leaders say they're working to create more dialog between themselves and the community, like it did in January when the BRAVE team went door-to-door talking to people after a violent weekend.
Chief Dabadie says BRAVE is having a positive effect, as it works in the 70805 and 70802 zip codes. Law enforcement at the forum said they can't say whether BRAVE is the reason for the decline in crime, but a lot is contributed to the efforts.
Both Dabadie and Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said they hope for BRAVE to grow as it's needed and fore more organizations to become involved in the efforts.