Investigative Unit: Almost half of New Roads Police Department not POST certified
NEW ROADS - Tonight, concern is mounting over some officers' credentials in the City of New Roads Police Department.
One officer told us those in the department aren't being adequately trained with their firearms, but they still carry a gun and a badge. Numbers obtained by the Investigative Unit back up those claims. There are currently 29 officers on the New Roads Police Department. At least 12 of those officers are not POST certified.
Post certifications are issued when officers go through rigorous firearm training. Insiders in the New Roads Police Department said this problem has gone on for years, and those enforcing laws on the streets believe safety could be at risk, by those sworn to protect and serve.
"If they're not trained, what's to say another Marksville isn't going to happen," the New Roads Police Officer said.
WBRZ has not identified the officer. He knows if his name gets leaked, he'll lose his job.
Routinely, you'll find officers who aren't POST certified enforcing laws on the streets and carrying weapons, according to the officer.
"Those who aren't trained scare me," Greg Phares said.
Phares has decades of experience in law enforcement. He believes it's dangerous for any officers to enforce laws if they don't have the POST certification training. That education has been a critical training tool for more than 40 years. POST Certifications train officers int he use of deadly force, and how to adequately respond to situations where a weapon would need to be used.
"I personally think every officer should have that training," Phares said.
However, about half of those in New Roads don't have it. The State Commission for Law Enforcement says full time officers are required to be POST Certified within a year of getting hired. But, nearly half of the officers in New Roads are part-time, which allows them to patrol the streets without that certification.
Police Chief Kevin McDonald says he pairs up those who aren't certified with other certified officers.
"We always put them riding with someone," McDonald said.
That's not the case according to our source, who says he has watched officers work for the department full time for years, without getting certified.
"It's worse than the buddy system," the Officer said. "It's the family system. Everybody knows everybody. So I'm going to let my cousin get off with this warrant. But, you're going to jail for no drivers license because I don't know you."
The lack of training is a serious problem, and is not just isolated to New Roads. It's a problem statewide with small departments.
"When you have a deadly weapon, fast car and ability to take your liberty away, you need training in order to exercise that and not exercise it when it's not appropriate," Phares said.
Officers have to take hundreds of hours worth of training to get POST certified. We're told there are two full-time officers in New Roads who aren't post certified. They are scheduled to enroll in a January training program.