BRPD gets creative filling staffing gaps due to turnover
BATON ROUGE- Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said in a sit-down interview Friday that there are plans in the works to take officers who currently have desk jobs and put them out on the streets.
Those jobs will likely be filled with civilian positions as the number of open positions at the police department hovers around 70. During this same time last year, there were 60 openings. Despite the increase, Paul said the turnover rate remains the same. The turnover is attributed to retirements, terminations, and people quitting.
"We talked about how we can put more police officers on the streets... more boots on the ground," Paul said. "So, we've identified several positions in the department we can either through some consolidation efforts...or hire a civilian position and put those police officers on the streets."
Paul said despite the staffing shortages, the streets will be covered.
Recruiting for Baton Rouge Police is a tough task. According to a recent pay study released by East Baton Rouge Parish, BRPD Officers are paid nearly 30-percent lower than their counterparts at neighboring agencies.
"When we are at job fairs with some of our partner agencies and they are $20,000 higher in starting pay...that has something to do with it," Paul said.
Right now, they are exploring all aspects of the budget to look for nearly $21 million that would be needed for across the board raises at BRPD which may require help from the Metro Council to help find additional funds.
Paul said he's never heard that police aren't deserving of a raise, but finding the money is the biggest challenge right now. Until that figure increases, staffing shortages may continue.
"We are a major metropolitan city," Paul said. "The crime numbers speak for themselves. The stress that goes along with that. You can go to Gonzales Police and make more money as a police officer and I'll assure you I would put a day in a life of a BRPD Officer to Gonzales and the difference in terms of stress there's no comparison."
If you are interested in becoming a Baton Rouge Police Officer, the department is encouraging you to learn more about them here.