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Incoming BRPD Chief gives preview of policing policy

6 months 1 week 1 day ago Monday, January 15 2024 Jan 15, 2024 January 15, 2024 7:17 PM January 15, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Ahead of his swearing in Tuesday, the incoming Baton Rouge Police Chief Thomas 'TJ' Morse Jr. gave the community a preview of what kind of chief he plans to be.

Morse spoke to a group of concerned citizens during Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's MLK Day event Monday.

The Special Response Team commander was chosen by Mayor Broome as the new police chief in part due to his willingness to continue Chief Murphy Paul's 21st century policing policies.

In some cases, Morse says he wants to take it a step further.

"Chief Paul made a lot of steps to try and get stuff out sooner and I want to see how we can be more efficient in that. I know that there's a lot of talk about 'this is still under investigation' things like that, but I think we can make steps to get information out sooner so we can be ahead of the rumors and things that are being assumed," he said.

Promising to be more open and transparent with both the public and the media, Morse also echoed Chief Paul and Mayor Broome's heavy emphasis on community initiatives to prevent crime.

"I don't think that we can arrest our way out of the problem. I don't think that. No matter how many arrests we can make, it's going to help, but it's not going to be the solve-all. We have to work as a community. We have to work with other programs to get kids off the street, to get more resources to people, so they don't choose this life."

An important facet of that, Morse says is tending to officer's mental health.

"Our officers, they wear a lot of different hats. They'll go from working a scene of a crash with a dead body in the car and then 30 minutes later they're at your house because you're making a loud music complaint. No break in between. No speaking to a counselor. No time to reflect. That is the kind of pace our officers are in and we need to be a better job of looking out for their mental wellness."

Morse will also hold 'bad' officers accountable, saying he doesn't believe any officer starts their day with the intent to do wrong. In the case of the 'BRAVE Cave,' he says he still has some files to read, but will not brush it off.

"If we don't learn from history, we're destined to repeat it. We got to get in there and make sure the mistakes that were madethat we are accountable for them, that we own up to them, and we make sure that we don't make them any more."

Morse will be sworn in Tuesday at the BRPD Headquarters at 10 am.

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