Report Recommendation 4.6

Pillar 4: Community Policing and Crime Reduction

4.6 Report Recommendation: Communities should adopt policies and programs that address the needs of children and youth most at risk for crime or violence and reduce aggressive law enforcement tactics that stigmatize youth and marginalize their participation in schools and communities.

BRPD Alignment

  • BRPD recognizes that previous and present injustice and discrimination are barriers to building community trust. BRPD’s Community Service Division develops and executes community outreach, youth engagement, and crime prevention among its services 
  • Also, with the aim of ensuring the Community Policing concept and expectation is department-wide and not just the responsibility of the Community Services Division, all supervisors have received training in Community Policing (best practices) through the National Safety Partnership, Through its sponsorship and participation in community programs and events, BRPD interacts with citizens in a non-law enforcement capacity several hundred times each year. Prior to the pandemic in 2020, BRPD participated in an average of 300+ community events each year (2018 and 2019). In particular, BRPD is working with partner agencies and local organizations to bridge the gap with the city’s youngest generations. There is a particular focus on creating and participating in school events, through partnerships with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, as well as private and parochial schools.
  • BRPD’s leadership and participation in the East Baton Rouge Parish Police Athletic League (PAL) bring officers, juveniles, and their families and friends together through positive engagement. Through its collaborative programs, PAL provides school-age youth the opportunity to develop their intellectual, social, and physical well-being in a fun, exciting, and safe environment. This promotes crime prevention and violence and helps foster positive, trusting relationships among kids, police officers, and communities. 
  • In December 2021, BRPD launched a new strategy, whereby officers regularly interact with citizens in their own neighborhoods. Each week, BRPD officers walk the streets of various neighborhoods during the Department’s Community Canvases. BRPD leaders and officers say the effort is providing new insight and building mutual understanding between citizens and law enforcement.
  • BRPD is aligning its Community Services programs to East Baton Rouge President Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s Safe, Hopeful, Healthy Initiative. Safe, Hopeful, Healthy 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.
  • After a decades-long hiatus, BRPD recently re-launched its Explorers Post #225 program. The program is for students, ages 14-18.  Explorers #225 gives participants a real look at a career as a first responder, with an emphasis on Law Enforcement as they rotate through each Division of BRPD.  During the program, participants learn their rights, as well as the local and state laws of Louisiana.  They are trained in First Aid and CPR and even have opportunities to ride with EMS on service calls. Participants acquire team-building skills. And most importantly, they grow in compassion for their fellow citizens through community service and volunteerism and form trusting relationships with police officers. 

Similarly, adults ages 18-21 can participate in BRPD’s Cadet program, whereby participants work full-time for the BRPD, shadowing police officers in every Division.  Although Cadets must still complete the Department’s Training Academy to become sworn police officers, their years of service start accruing on their first day as Cadets. The Cadet program is meeting its objectives, encouraging young adults to pursue careers in law enforcement, and giving community members an upfront and personal view of BRPD.