BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A controversial item concerning residency for city police was removed from the agenda at Wednesday night's East Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting.
The item, which would require new applicants with the Baton Rouge Police Department to live within the city limits, failed to be introduced after council members voted to pull it, preventing it from advancing any further.
Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks Daniel, who sponsored the item, said the hope is for better relations between police officers and the community they protect and serve. She added the requirement also generates tax revenue for the city.
"Having law enforcement that live, work, play and worship in the city of Baton Rouge would cultivate the kind of cultural relationships where they understand how we live, how we work, how we play because they're a part of it," Banks said.
The requirement would go into effect on January 1, 2017 and would not affect any officers already on the force.
Metro Councilman John Delgado opposes the measure outright, saying he thinks it would have a negative effect on recruitment.
"We're recruiting from all over the surrounding parishes. If we limit our recruiting to only the city of Baton Rouge, we would never be able to fill the ranks of our police department," Delgado said.
He believes the timing of this measure is disrespectful in light of the recent funerals for the three officers that were killed in an ambush attack on July 17.
"Two days after we buried the last of the officers that died. To have this item come up on the public agenda, It's just beyond the pale," Delgado said.
However, Banks wants this measure to be discussed now. She feels in light of the that ambush attack and the Alton Sterling shooting, the council needs to find ways to improve the relationship between officers and the community.
"What we're going to see out of my colleagues is whether or not their hearts are for change," Banks said before the meeting. "Whether or not they're interested in entering into a dialogue where we look at policy and procedure that are getting our law enforcement killed, getting our civilians killed in a questionable manner. So it's about whether or not they're real."
The item, or a similar one, could be introduced at a later time.