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Together Baton Rouge talks with police chief about police reform

6 years 1 month 2 weeks ago Tuesday, April 03 2018 Apr 3, 2018 April 03, 2018 6:11 PM April 03, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Dozens of Together Baton Rouge members packed the room inside of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church to hear Police Chief Murphy Paul talk about police reform and ways to better to implement the current policies.

Paul took questions from the organization stemming from issues pertaining to the current use of force policies.

"We have police and they're going to be here forever, so we need to be working with them to make things better for everybody because there are so many individual problems and it's not just racial things---problems all around that need to be addressed," says Barbara Haynes, an active member of Together Baton Rouge.

The group believes Baton Rouge officers should train officers on the use of force, review discriminatory arrest patterns, as well as increasing police pay.

"We just have to make sure that our police officers are following that policy. And that our supervisors are making sure that our police officers are demonstrating that every day and when they are not we're going to hold them accountable," says Paul.

Together Baton Rouge made suggestions during a presentation on "5 things that need to change for police reform to matter:"

-Under-representation of black and women officers

-Low salaries/over-reliance on overtime

-Disparities in drug possession enforcement 

-Track record of excessive force

-Culture of non-disclosure

During the answer and response session of the luncheon, Paul says he plans to address some of the issues through creating a response team.

"We're also putting together our cop and clergy program," says Paul.

Paul's speech comes less than a week after the firing of former BRPD officer Blane Salamoni and the 3-day suspension of Howie Lake in connection with the Alton Sterling shooting, a decision he says everyone will not understand.

"It was also the right decision because if we're going to move forward as a progressive agency that's what progressive agencies do," says Paul.

The group also discussed the current police union contract.

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