Amid multiple secret BRPD internal investigations, department angry over officers 'leaking' information
BATON ROUGE – Baton Rouge Police released a terse statement late Tuesday, hours after WBRZ revealed a secret investigation within the department focused on a cop who is accused of trying to sell drug case information to a drug dealer.
WBRZ first reported on the investigation earlier Tuesday. Tuesday evening, Baton Rouge Police issued a blanket statement to news outlets outlining a series of internal probes focused on police officers and possible wrongdoing. The department also chastised whistleblowers: “the leaking of secure information within the department goes directly against public trust and the Baton Rouge Police Department takes all allegations that go against public trust seriously. So despite numerous attempts to interfere with recent investigations, we will continue to aggressively pursue the truth that the public deserves.”
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul has taken a position that information given to reporters about the department without department approval is made in an attempt to interfere and undermine the agency.
In the statement, police confirmed the investigation underway into a uniform patrol officer who worked overtime in the unit assigned to combat narcotics. The officer “may have released sensitive information related to an ongoing investigation,” police said. Sources told WBRZ, the officer tried to sell case information. WBRZ has made an editorial decision to not release the officer’s name until the officer is disciplined, fired or arrested.
“Once the investigations conclude, the appropriate actions will be take in line with Louisiana law and BRPD policy,” police said Tuesday about the case against the officer.
The department also revealed a former police officer is under investigation for “two incidents of alleged police misconduct.” The agency said the officer, who was not named, was placed on leave as both an internal and criminal investigation was launched but the officer “abruptly retired within days of learning of these investigations.” Despite the officer leaving the police department, the cases remain ongoing.
Police said amid the media scrutiny, there was also a new, fourth investigation – launched “just this week,” the department proclaimed Tuesday night – addressing what the department called a “potential breach within the ranks.”
When asked for clarification on the latest investigation, a spokesperson said “the department does not comment on open administrative matters.”
The police department said in all of the inquiries involving its officers, it will notify the law enforcement commission of any change in an officer’s employment and in cases related to misconduct, “request a revocation review” of the person’s law enforcement certification.
Baton Rouge Police said taking a strong stand on corruption and attempting to undermine an officer’s next job in law enforcement is necessary to “further protect our community and others.”
Read the entire Baton Rouge Police statement here:
Over the last few weeks, the Baton Rouge Police Department has conducted several criminal and administrative investigations relative to allegations of officer wrongdoing.
The initial investigation began in April of this year and involved the theft of multiple firearms, Malfeasance and Injuring Public Records. The case concluded on June 6, 2022 with the arrest of former BRPD officer, Benjamin Zeringue.
A second internal investigation was initiated after learning that a current BRPD officer may have released sensitive information related to an ongoing investigation. The officer was immediately placed on administrative leave, and a criminal investigation began. Once the investigations conclude, the appropriate actions will be taken in line with Louisiana law and BRPD policy.
In a separate case, a former BRPD officer is being investigated relative to two incidents of alleged police misconduct. As per procedure, that officer was placed on administrative leave, and the criminal and internal investigations began. The officer abruptly retired within days of learning of these investigations, but the cases remain ongoing. Any actions deemed appropriate will follow the conclusion of the investigations.
Also, just this week, the department has launched a fourth investigation addressing another potential breach within the ranks.
The leaking of secure information within the department goes directly against public trust, and the Baton Rouge Police Department takes all allegations that go against public trust seriously. So despite numerous attempts to interfere with recent investigations, we will continue to aggressively pursue the truth that the public deserves.
To the Baton Rouge Community: We want the community to know that these few bad actors do NOT reflect the mass of the professional, hardworking and dedicated men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
As exhibited in the past, our department will hold those found to have violated policy and/or state law accountable. We will continue to demonstrate this by arresting officers when probable cause exist and by terminating those who violate applicable policy. We believe that wearing the badge is an honor and will work diligently to protect the integrity of those officers who uphold the mission of the Baton Rouge Police Department every day.
In an attempt to further protect our community and others, our office will notify the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement of any separation of employment. Additionally, on cases relating to misconduct, we will request a revocation review by the Louisiana Peace Officer Standard and Training Council of that person’s law enforcement certification. In accordance with law, these actions and circumstances will also be entered into the Louisiana Uniform Law Enforcement Statewide Reporting Database.
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