Police residency requirement proposal scheduled for debate at special meeting

Police residency requirement proposal scheduled for debate at special meeting

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The issue of police residency requirements will be discussed again at a special Metro Council meeting.

The meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 12 on the 8th floor of City Hall. The agenda is focused on items related to the Baton Rouge Police Department, which includes residency requirements,  police policy changes, pay issues, and policing initiatives.

The proposed residency requirement amendment would require all new recruits with the Baton Rouge Police Department to live within city limits. The items was last discussed at the last Metro Council meeting, which was just two days before the historic flooding began.

When last introduced, the proposal was fiercely debated with more than 30 people in favor of the measure dominating the microphone. The vote was delayed because they simply ran out of time.

"By law we have to end the meeting at 8:00 p.m., and if there's not a vote that happens by then, ultimately what ends up happening is that item is suspended until we pick up at the next council meeting," said Councilwoman Tara Wicker, who presided over the meeting.

The item was first introduced at the July 27 meeting by Councilwoman Chauna Banks. The item was struck from the agenda before it could be introduced due to the death of three law enforcement officers during an ambush shooting that happened on July 17.

Those in opposition say the requirement would put an additional strain on an already taxed police department. With a low starting salary and the risks with the job, BRPD Union's President Sgt. Bryan Taylor said recruitment is already difficult. Right now, the department has 52 openings.

If approved, this would apply to new officers. Those already living outside the parish would be allowed to stay where they are.

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