Longtime BRPD Sergeant files scathing grievance against department
BATON ROUGE - A 21-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department filed a three-page scathing grievance against the department this week which makes allegations against his co-workers and takes shots at the way the department is being run.
Gordon "Trey" Bargas claims he was recently transferred out of a position in administration back to uniform patrol because he was not part of the "clique."
In the letter dated February 6, 2018, and sent to Chief Murphy Paul, Bargas writes, "At first, I thought a new chief would be a benefit. It is really like bringing sand to the beach... keeping the status quo."
Bargas' letter said he was moved to administration after the WBRZ Investigative Unit reported last year that Officer Blaine Salamoni was collecting administrative fees from extra duty even though he was on leave. Bargas remained there until he was transferred to Uniform Patrol, which is scheduled to take effect next week.
"First, I have issues with you having that letter," Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said. "We have processes in place and respecting rules. There's a grievance process in place, and I would like to see that process go through."
Former Baton Rouge Police Chief Pat Englade said the letter is shocking. Typically topics that are raised in the letter Bargas filed are usually reserved for face-to-face conversations.
"It's a little unusual for something like that to come from the department," Englade said. "I don't think I've ever seen that myself before."
Englade said as Chief Paul tries to clean up the department, it's not easy dealing with allegations like these. Englade remembers transferring many people out of administration back on to the streets.
"The Chief needs to make the best decisions he has to make to keep the community safe," Englade said. "If that's moving people out of positions that they think they can afford to move them out of, that's what you have to do. I did it, and every chief has had to do it."
WBRZ has reported extensively on staffing shortages at Baton Rouge Police. Last year, the department was down 60 officers. Tonight, Chief Paul said Bargas is among six other sergeants moved from administration into uniform patrol to beef up the force. As far as the grievance is concerned, he says it will be handled.
"I want the employees to know they should feel safe to file a grievance," Paul said. "We created an environment where it is safe to tell us what is on their mind and heart, and I have been communicating that to every man and woman on this job. Give us an opportunity to do our job."
Bargas said in his letter this is the first grievance he has filed in 21 years and has never been suspended from the department. The WBRZ Investigative Unit reached out to Bargas for a comment on his letter but never heard back.