Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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BREC making changes to curb park violence

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BATON ROUGE - There were shots of a different kind after a Baton Rouge basketball game Wednesday night. 

BREC Communications Officer Cheryl Michelet says a park ranger was at Kernan Park when a fight broke out. The unarmed ranger attempted to break up the fight.

Residents in the area say the park is notorious for violence.

"They have shoot-outs, drive-bys, be selling drugs, and all kinds of things you just wouldn't want to expose your children to," said Neva Vessell. "I really don't let my little cousins and my nieces and nephews come over here that I watch, or to any parks in this area for that matter, because they're not safe."

All 183 BREC parks are monitored by 19 park rangers. The rangers are retired police and fire officials and act as a liaison to police.

"They drive around, they look at what's happening, they have radios, they're in contact with staff," said Michelet.

BREC says arming rangers would require a significant amount of training, and it's not something they're looking into at this time. At a BREC budget meeting Wednesday, representatives discussed installing surveillance cameras in problem areas, and organizing neighborhood watch groups.


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