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BRPD responds to police union's criticisms over rampant crime in capital area

8 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Tuesday, May 03 2022 May 3, 2022 May 03, 2022 10:10 AM May 03, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - On Tuesday, the Baton Rouge Police Department's deputy chiefs responded to a scathing statement from the International Union of Police Associations criticizing the department for its handling of crime in the area.

Read the full statement from BRPD's deputy chiefs below.

Chief Murphy Paul is aware that a letter from Sam Cabral of the International Union of Police
Association, has been recently circulated. The letter mentioned crime, staffing, communication and discipline. However, the information noted by the author did not accurately represent the efforts that have and are currently being taken within the Baton Rouge Police Department. Local, State and Federal partnerships, such as Operation Red Stick, are ongoing and have shown an impact in the area of addressing violent crime in the Baton Rouge community.

In a time where workforce staffing has proven to be a challenge throughout the country in numerous professions, law enforcement has not been exempt from the problem. However, the Baton Rouge Police Department, has been able to effectively recruit even during this hiring crisis. As a matter of fact, we are scheduled to graduate 20 new police officers from our Basic Training Academy next week (Monday, May 9, 2022). We have also hired approximately 15 cadets for the 89th Basic Training Academy and have an additional 20 candidates to interview for that class, which is slated to start next month on June 20, 2022. This does not include the nine law enforcement officers from other agencies seeking lateral transfers to join BRPD. If anyone is interested in being considered for employment, they still have a few more weeks to submit an application before the deadline.

Communication has always been a priority since Chief Paul was appointed to represent the
agency. Throughout his tenure, repeated roll call visits, virtual town hall meetings, news letters and emails have been a frequent practice to converse with the men and women of this agency. Ideas presented to the staff from the boots on the ground have led to several documented changes within the department. We cherish the input of all and have established quarterly strategic planning retreats. These retreats ensure representation from all levels, to include gender, race, seniority, different divisions, civilian employees, etc.
As far as discipline, the Chief of Police has a well-documented history of fair and impartial
accountability. The department has been very transparent during his term, having released data on multiple occasions outlining the discipline issued by Chief Paul. We will not allow misinformation to divide those in our agency and community, nor will we allow it to take away from the great work, effort and sacrifices made by members of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

We take great pride in not only the bridges we have built within the community, but we also have established a positive working relationship with the new leadership of the Local 237 Baton Rouge Union of Police. As they were shocked to hear of the letter issued by the IUPA president, so are we.

From day one, Chief Paul has been a focused and committed leader and that will not change. He will continue to lead the Baton Rouge Police Department and to serve with the members of our community to prevent crime and to promote the safety and well-being of all.

Read the original statement from the International Union of Police Associations below.

Chiefs of Police are responsible solely for the safety of the communities they serve. Unfortunately many are not held accountable for the crime rates in their jurisdictions. This should end. The "buck" stops with the chief.

In Baton Rouge, one of the deadliest cities in America, we see crime completely out of control. Just last week, three year-old Devin Page, Jr. was asleep in his own bed when a bullet tore through his home, striking him in the head and killing him. His life had barely begun. A week before that, five year old Summer Hawkins was killed.

There have been 36 murders in Baton Rouge at the time of this writing in 2022, nearly all the result of shootings.

The Baton Rouge Police Department, like most departments across this nation, is understaffed. Has the Chief made any public statements to address this situation? Has he pressed the Mayor or Metro Council for pay enhancements to retain and recruit?

We recognize that steps are being taken to abate the city's cycle of violence and death, but clearly, those steps are not working.

The Chief of Police, Murphy Paul, is clearly out of his depth. He seldom meets with his line, on the street officers, and never seeks their input in addressing the violence they witness daily. He is, in fact, a politician, not a police officer. Chief Paul responds to any criticism of his decisions or leadership through harsh punitive measures that are directed at anyone who questions or comments on his edicts. He employs internal investigations as a weapon to silence his officers. Investigations that don't look for the truth, but investigations that give him the ability to issue unfair discipline that not only hurts the officer, but their family as well.

Right now, Baton Rouge Police Department is down 115 officers. Chief Paul should be working hard instead of issuing unfair discipline, and forcing officers to leave. It is far past time that Chief Murphy Paul take responsibility, address effectively his failures, solicit and encourage input from his rank and file officers, and persuade the mayor and Metro Council to act. If he is unwilling or unable, Chief Paul should step down and let a more qualified chief of police take the reins.

The people of Baton Rouge deserve nothing less.

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