Proposed city budget grows police to largest force in history
BATON ROUGE - City leaders have started to discuss the next budget, a 6% increase from 2015.
Wednesday, the Metro Council analyzed the first group of proposals. Among them, the spending plan for Baton Rouge Police. The mayor is asking to increase spending by 2% for the department.
"Public safety... has always been, and will continue to be, a top priority," the mayor wrote in his proposal.
The budget calls for a new police academy in September. A set of recruits are in an academy now, and will graduate in March. Once the latest round of recruits become officers, their addition to the force will increase the number of officers to a record.
"We'll have more policemen and firemen on the streets than any time in the city-parish history," William Daniel, the mayor's CAO, told the council.
The budget proposal continues to fund the crime fighting initiative BRAVE and the city's share of the Violent Crime's Unit, a task force of crime fighters stationed at State Police Headquarters that investigate and study violent crime in the area.
Funding is also included for the continued use of surveillance cameras, the ShotSpotter crime system and other equipment police use daily. But, the city does not expect to purchase body cameras for police until later. A pilot program is underway to determine the best practices should body cameras be added to police uniforms.
The mayor is also asking for $1 million to upgrade police cars. Some are ten years old with more than 100,000 miles.
Metro Council will approve a final spending plan later. The mayor is proposing a $880 million spending plan.
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