Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Mayor approves cash for BRPD overtime

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BATON ROUGE - After a wave of violent crime in Baton Rouge over the weekend, Baton Rouge Police Chief TJ Morse announced the Mayor-President's office approved extra funding for "proactive policing" measures. 

"I am increasing resources to divisions that are more proactive in their enforcement and information gathering to prevent these shootings from occurring," Chief Morse said during the press conference Monday. 

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome approved an additional $30,000 to $35,000 overtime funding weekly to go toward officers that are working additional hours in accordance with their new strategy. The Mayor's office said the money will cover the cost of 10 officers, working six overtime hours a day for seven days a week. Those hours will be solely devoted to the proactive policing measures in areas where BRPD is seeing spikes in crime.  

BRPD Captain Bill Clarida said officers will be patrolling different parts of the city depending on crime trends. 

"Those areas are determined by whatever information we have and it's all fluid. It could be one week one specific area gets addressed because it had an uptick," Cpt. Clarida said.

Clarida told WBRZ that the change won't be immediate and it may take time for residents to see the effects of the proactive policing measures. 

"I would say having been a police officer for as long as I have been that it takes time to put people in those areas to start making those differences. We're encouraging people to be as patient as possible," Clarida said.

Morse said the initiative, which started a week before the press conference, is an attempt to curb the type of violence that Baton Rouge experienced over the weekend.

Over Saturday and Sunday, two people were killed and three people were hurt in shootings. Chief Morse says that the majority of gun violence in Baton Rouge has been targeted. 

"Our detectives investigating these events informed me that they're learning of incidents with multiple shooters, close ties between victims and suspects and escalations of disputes and fights," Morse said. "The vast majority of shootings have not been random in nature."

Morse included that Baton Rouge is seeing an increase in juvenile crime throughout the city. 

"Our suspects and victims are not only increasingly familiar with one another, but they are getting younger and younger."

In the entirety of 2023, BRPD arrested nine juveniles for homicide. Not even a quarter into 2024, six juveniles have been arrested on homicide charges. 

Morse provided an updates on two shootings that happened over the weekend: one was targeted and the other was allegedly by a 14-year-old boy who grabbed a gun in the middle of a fight. 

"To those of you resolving your disputes with violence," Morse said, "I want you off the streets, and we will all be working together to get you off the streets."

Mayor Broome took to the podium as well and assured residents that her office is working in coordination with the police department to get a handle on the violence. 

"Our focus is laser-sharp on the small number of individuals who are causing violence and unrest in our streets," Broome said. "We've invested in cameras with gun detection and technology to enhance our ability to prevent and solve crimes."

Mayor Broome, who was elected in 2016 and is up for another re-election this year, reminded residents that Baton Rouge has seen improvements in methods to decrease crime before. 

"Let's not forget - we've been here before - and just as we have done before, we will drive down the crime statistics once again."


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