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A police chief by Christmas: Broome says picking a new top cop will seem different this time

10 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Monday, August 28 2023 Aug 28, 2023 August 28, 2023 4:55 PM August 28, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said Monday the timeline needed to select a new police chief for Baton Rouge will seem different than the one that ended with Murphy Paul being named the city's top cop in 2017.

Applications were due to the city-parish last Friday, and according to a timeline provided by Broome's office the city will have a new chief by Christmas.

Six years ago, Broome named an interim chief to replace Carl Dabadie following his abrupt resignation. He stepped away a year after a tumultuous summer that saw the murder of four law officers, the police shooting of Alton Sterling and widespread flooding throughout much of East Baton Rouge Parish.

"The last time, we were coming out of some very intense times in our community," Broome said during a visit with the Baton Rouge Press Club. "As we embarked on selecting a new chief, I put together a very voluminous committee of individuals to help in the process and also I had a longer process. We even appointed an interim chief ... because of the short window that we had" after Dabadie's departure.

Paul announced last month he would step down, but remain in the post until his replacement is selected.

"I want to thank Chief Paul for just not saying, 'Bye, I'm outta here' and drop the mic, but saying that he will stay until we have completed the process," Broome said.

According to a timeline provided by Broome's office, after the city's Fire and Police Board reviews and approves the applications, candidates will take a test Sept. 14. Test scores will be finalized by Oct. 23, then Broome will have 60 days to interview candidates herself and select a new chief. 

At the Press Club, Broome said she would pick a candidate who follows the "tenets of 21st century policing." 

"One of the big challenges that we had coming out of 2016 was the big division, the divide, between our community and our police department," Broome said. "I will tell you we have closed that divide in a very significant way. We have built trust with our community and police department and that is why we have had the results in terms of a decrease in homicides and violent crimes."

The term "21st Century Policing," as used by the U.S. Justice Department, denoted policies that include departments engaging communities in six key areas in an effort to reduce crime: "Building Trust and Legitimacy," Policy and Oversight," "Technology and Social Media," "Community Policing and Crime Reduction," "Officer Training and Education," and "Officer Safety and Wellness."

Data supplied by the city-parish for the first six months of the year showed a 23 percent decline in homicides between 2021 and 2023. It also said there was a 22 percent decline in non-fatal shootings between 2022 and this year.

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