BRAVE officers hit the street, meet community
BATON ROUGE (NBC33) — Before they mixed and mingled with the community inside the Delmont Center for their formal introduction to residents, they pounded the pavement outside. The five Baton Rouge police officers, assigned full-time to work the city's most violent and notorious zip code.
"In order for a man to have friends, he must show himself friendly first," said Sgt. Herbert Anny. "So we want to show ourselves in a different attitude."
And that's the goal of the BRAVE project; making a connection with the community and establishing lines of trust and communication. So instead of coming to make an arrest and leave, officers stayed in 70805 zip code and talked fishing on the front porch.
"We needed that a long time ago, we needed that," said Mary Ann Martinez, who lives in the area.
The strategy is to create community relationships that will help police identify potential criminal suspects and get them help, before they can commit crimes.
"Certain things like job placement, drug rehabilitation, mentorship," said Sgt. Anny. "Give them an alternative to violent, criminal behavior."
Leonard Williams owns and operates Leonard's Barbershop. He especially wants to see a reduction in crime. Back in 1998, he said a man was shot and killed inside his shop. As tragic and traumatic as that is, it's also very bad for business.
"I think it's a wonderful program, we need to do something to deter crime," said Williams.