Report Recommendation 4.3
Pillar 4: Community Policing and Crime Reduction
4.3 Report Recommendation: Law enforcement agencies should engage in multidisciplinary, community team approaches for planning, implementing, and responding to crisis situations with complex causal factors.
The BRPD partners extensively with other agencies to respond to those situations that require a mental health crisis intervention team. This team combines law enforcement, public health resources, and social service agencies to address complex situations involving persons in mental health crises or domestic violence situations. This strategy addresses both short- and long-term objectives: to avoid dangerous escalations in response to enforcement-based situations and to provide long-term resources to some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens.
- All BRPD officers are CIT-trained in crisis stabilization. In fact, the agency’s CIT training in the Academy consists of 39 hours. Likewise, de-escalation and the use of less-lethal force are central to the agency’s Academy and In-Service training, as well as BRPD policies. http://geauxbrpd.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/brpd-sample-academy-scheduled.pdf
- Recognizing the need for a more comprehensive approach to addressing mental health crisis, BRPD partnered with the mayor’s office, the district attorney’s office, the sheriff’s office, the business community, and mental health providers to bring a crisis stabilization facility to East Baton Rouge Parish. Together, the partners worked with local policymakers to develop a strategy to inform the public about the need for a crisis stabilization center that would be funded through a mental health tax. In 2018, voters in East Baton Rouge approved a property tax of $1.5 million for 10 years, which funds the Bridge Center for Hope https://brbridge.org/. The Bridge Center for Hope opened in February 2021.
- Since the Bridge Center for Hope opened, police officers have gone from waiting four to twelve hours to drop people off at hospitals or taking them to jail, to drop-offs of less than four minutes.
- Some calls for service are complex and require both police and social service responses. The BRPD relies on partnerships with social service agencies to provide an effective response to the vast array of social needs that confront our community.
- In cases of domestic violence, the BRPD partners with the Butterfly Society, IRIS, St. Vincent DePaul, and the Capital Area Family Justice Center to ensure victims have access to a crisis center and/or counseling services if they request additional help beyond law enforcement.
- BRPD’s chaplain program serves both department employees and the general public in times of need.
- East Baton Rouge President Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s Safe, Hopeful, Healthy Initiative works to interrupt the cycle of violence, strengthen family support, revitalize neighborhoods, promote academic education, and prioritize access to care.
The initiative centers on implementing mentorship programs, connecting residents to social services, improving the opportunities available within the community through youth development programs, and connecting residents to neighborhood-based public benefits and supportive services.