BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The majority of complaints against Baton Rouge police officers come from fellow officers, according to numbers released by the department Tuesday, June 16.
There were 57 complaints against BRPD officers in 2018, 46 of which were filed internally, meaning they came from fellow officers. Of the 57 complaints, 17 were “sustained,” meaning some sort of disciplinary action was taken against the officers.
L’Jean McNeely, BRPD’s Public Information Officer, said that action could have been anything from a cautionary letter to a suspension.
In 2019 there were 57 complaints, according to the numbers released by BRPD. Of those 57, 44 came from within the ranks. A total of 31 were sustained.
“Officers are coming forward in assisting other officers they feel aren’t doing things they should be because they feel some actions are taken place in an attempt to change the culture in police,” McNeely said.
Chief Murphy Paul talked about the numbers of officers filing complaints on Jim Engster’s Talk Louisiana radio show Tuesday. Paul said internal affairs has received approximately 120 complaints against the department since he took over nearly three years ago, but those are mostly from inside. He said he hopes this helps to build trust with the community.
“It’s a culture change, it’s an attitude change, and it’s a peer involvement in making sure when you see someone doing something they shouldn’t be, somebody is going to become involved and somebody is going to take some kind of action,” McNeely said.
If an officer does have a complaint filed against them, it is sent to internal affairs where it is investigated. Body camera footage is looked at, not only for the described incident but for previous months to ensure there is not a pattern of behavior. If it is discovered there is, McNeely said that officer will face a variety of corrective measures. If those measures are not effective further steps will be taken to remove the officer.
“We don’t want that culture, we don’t want that bit of attitude within our department,” he said. “We’re trying to change our idea of policing because we know it’s forever changed.”
McNeely said the hope is that through self-policing, the department will better be able to hold itself accountable and do its best to eliminate the wrongs.
“Officers are taking action,” he said. “We want the public to know that.“
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