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Officer shortage continues to plague BRPD

1 month 1 week 6 days ago Wednesday, February 28 2024 Feb 28, 2024 February 28, 2024 5:53 PM February 28, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Not unlike a lot of police departments nationwide, the Baton Rouge Police Department is operating with about 100 officers less than it should be. In 2016, that shortage was only around 30.

"We have an allotment of 695 [officers]. We've always hovered around 640, 650. Right now we're around 560, 570. We'd like to get those numbers back up to 650, 660, but it's a challenge," Lt. L'Jean McKneely said.

The shortage is due to several factors including salary and a global shift in perception toward police.

"We're pushing hard with our recruiting efforts in an attempt to get individuals who want to serve," McKneely said. Quality persons who want to serve and be part of our organization."

Since implementing a $10,000 to $15,000 recruitment bonus in October of 2022, the department says they've only added 45 police officers.

As an added measure, the department has asked the Metro Council to amend the 2024 pay plan, extend the eligibility period for the bonus and move up the payout dates to comply with the guidelines from the American Rescue Plan.

"We're going to change the language so that we can be sure that the new hires for this next upcoming academy can get the money that's promised to them," McKneely said.

In June of last year, the Metro Council also approved bonuses totaling $8,000 for new dispatchers. So far, they've recruited three.

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