BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hundreds of Baton Rouge law enforcement officers live outside the jurisdiction in which they work. While it's not illegal, some say it's giving criminals a free pass.
It's a sight that, on the surface, looks pretty normal. East Baton Rouge Parish sheriffs deputies and Baton Rouge police officers parked at home, ready to call it a night. Our investigation revealed hundreds of these cars in Livingston Parish and Ascension Parish.
A 9 News I-Team review of records shows there are 638 officers in the Baton Rouge Police Department. Records show 250 of them live inside the parish, and 388 live not just outside the city, but outside the entire parish, and they take their cars home.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Charles Mondrick says his officers can live wherever they want and can take a care home, as long as it's within 24 miles of Baton Rouge. BRPD officers can take home cars for free. We found that officers in other cities do not get the same deal.
Officers in New Orleans have to pay to take their units home and in Shreveport, if you have a marked police car to take home, you cannot live outside the city limits. Detroit recently started a program to give officers a major discount, in the form of low rent in exchange for living inside city limits.
"I think it's certainly a possibility that could be looked at. Number one, you've got to have the money. The city has to have the money and has to be able to afford it," Mondrick said.
East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden says it is just not going to happen in the near future because of the city parish's budget.
"You have to be very careful about incentives because now you have to look at how you are going to treat one officer one way and another officer another way. I don't want to get into that battle," Holden said.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, an agency of just over 1,000, has 306 deputies who take their cars home. Those who live inside the parish pay $65 a month for that privilege. There are 88 who live outside the parish and they must pay $115 a month.
Sheriff's office rules do not allow any deputy to take a car home if they live further than 25 miles outside of the parish.
"It's not a concern to us at all. They are able to give a quick response. If we have to call them out for an emergency, they are probably even closer than if they live, let's say, on the other side of Baton Rouge," said Major Lawrence McLeary with EBRSO.