Local, state, federal level law enforcement devise plan to tackle bloodshed
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said he understands crime fighting strategies “might not meet your expectations at this time,” but his department along with East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police, and federal agencies are working hard to stop the bloodshed on Baton Rouge’s streets.
Chief Paul was joined by representatives from several law enforcement agencies working in EBR Parish on Monday, Jan. 24 to discuss efforts to address the violence plaguing Baton Rouge.
Paul said his department is working to target high risk individuals in high risk areas. BRPD has been collecting data on which areas see the most crime in Baton Rouge, specifically gun and drug crimes.
The department is sending more officers to patrol those areas, he added.
“This is not a call for more enforcement warranted efforts in our disinvested communities because that is where we are seeing higher calls for services,” said Paul. “This is a proactive policing effort to build trust and to work with you and identifying the persons and groups driving the gun violence in our city.”
In addition to what is already being done, national law enforcement experts are coming to Baton Rouge to devise a more comprehensive strategic plan to address the violence.
That plan will include not only policing measures but community initiatives that will empower citizens to intervene before law enforcement is called.
Community involvement has been a constant talking point for law enforcement and political leaders in Baton Rouge. Programs like TRUCE and Street Teams have been pushed to provide resources to at-risk areas, targeting individuals who are susceptible to gun violence. TRUCE offers job training and social workers to help people turn away from crime.
“You have to want to take the first step, and you have to want to do better, and we are here for you,” said Aishala Burgess, executive director of TRUCE. “We don’t want you to merely live.”
Burgess said community members need to step up to report instances that could escalate to violence.
“We cannot intervene if we do not know,” she said.
More so than just intervention measures, District Attorney Hillar Moore said the Baton Rouge community as a whole will have to change the way it thinks, and the community needs to invest equally in high risk youth as it does potential star athletes.
“We deal with the same group,” said Moore said. “One group, because of their potential and because where they are in the sport with the support we give them as a nation, receive a lot more money and attention than those at risk for killing.”
“We’ve got to pay one way or the other. The front end with education and services is a much wiser way to spend our money than the back end with death, broken families, and incarceration,” he said.
When asked if the shuttering of the narcotic division within BRPD has had an adverse impact on crime, Chief Paul said no.
Paul said resources have been shifted within BRPD to address drugs in Baton Rouge and target violent offenders. He also said BRPD is working with EBRSO to target illegal drugs and remove them from the streets.
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