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New BRPD chief to face major challenges once selected

6 months 2 days 4 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2023 Dec 12, 2023 December 12, 2023 8:55 PM December 12, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Mayor Sharon Weston Broome is expected to announce a new Police Chief before the new year. 

She is working from a list of five candidates recommended last month by a search committee she appointed. They are BRPD Capt. David Wallace, BRPD Sgt. and Training Academy Director Sharon Douglas, BRPD Deputy Chief Myron Daniels, BRPD Commander of Training Services Thomas Morse, Jr. and former Lafayette Police Chief Thomas Glover

"The top five were all ready to sit down and start the work," said Charles De Gravelles, who was a member of the search committee.

Another committee member agreed.

"Good group of finalists. When you look at the experiences and some of the things on their resumes, I thought they were a good crew," said Eugene Collins, who also served on the committee.

Committee members said they realized the role of the city's top cop comes with the heavy weight of high expectations both inside and outside the police department.

"Outgoing chief did fantastic job. Really not only with police reform, but bringing credibility to that department. Whoever is stepping into his shoes has some mighty big shoes to fill," Collins said.

De Gravelles said the change in leadership comes at a pivotal time for the department.

"They've continued to have a problem with recruiting and retention of officers. That's going to be on the top of someone's list when they take over. We have violent crime to deal with," he said.

Collins said cleaning up some of the existing messes will be crucial.

"Whoever is hired will walk into a BRAVE Cave investigation and making sure that needs to be closed out properly, in a way that our community can live it, justice can be found. You have that they're walking into. You also have a problem, although a decrease, of crime in our community. You're walking into that," he said.

The new chief will have to spearhead the department's efforts to re-establish trust with residents in the wake of allegations of officer misconduct that have led to arrests of police officers and firings. The department has been named in several lawsuits connected to the BRAVE Cave interrogations and related abuse allegations.

Deputy Chief Troy Lawrence, Sr., who ran the Street Crimes unit, was among those arrested as a result of investigations into that behavior. The Street Crimes unit was disbanded.

De Gravelles said the trust within the department also needs to be repaired as a result of the scandals.

"I understand that has been demoralizing for the guys in the force, men and women in the force," he said.

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