Local business leaders create new foundation, aiming to unite law enforcement, community
BATON ROUGE - Community leaders in the Capital City have collaborated to create a new foundation aimed at uniting locals with law enforcement for effective interactions that lead to increased communication and a shared vision.
Clay Young, chairman of the new foundation, described what the organization has been designed to accomplish during a Tuesday, Oct. 13 public address.
"Today," Young said, "we hope we can begin a journey that will help everyone understand that law enforcement and the community need each other."
The new organization, called The Baton Rouge Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Foundation, links some of the community's most outstanding business leaders and agencies with local law enforcement in an effort to advance public safety in East Baton Rouge Parish.
For example, the foundation has united Southern University and Louisiana State University in a partnership under its 'Research' arm.
In its role with the Foundation, Southern intends to use its sociology and criminal justice departments to send researchers into the community and assess individual situations with the goal of creating programs that will establish rapport between law enforcement and locals. It will also use research to suggest changes in law enforcement procedures.
LSU's responsibility involves directing workforce and leadership development programs that support the mental health and wellness of those who work in local law enforcement, while also helping them to develop leadership skills.
Leaders said they'll measure the foundation's success on whether or not there is a decrease in the parish's number of homicides, which have increased in recent months amid the COVID health crisis, and even surpassed the previous year's statistics.
During the Tuesday afternoon program, Young was joined by Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III and other local law enforcement officials.
Young explained that the foundation already has a promise of one million dollars in funding, and additional monetary support is expected.
In addition to leading the aforementioned projects, the foundation also plans to assist organizations already conducting outreach efforts in the community, such as TRUCE, an anti-violence group targeting at-risk youth, and The Butterfly Society, a domestic violence nonprofit.
Representatives of the new Baton Rouge Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Foundation, prepared to take on a series of major projects, says it hopes to eventually become a model for the rest of the nation.
But they explained that success will take time, as the research phase will begin shortly but is likely to continue until the end of 2021 before implementation.
"We're not saying that this is some panacea that is going to fix things overnight," Young said. "That's an impossible thing. We're just starting a process to do it one brick at a time."
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