BRPD to gain new class of officers

BRPD to gain new class of officers

POSTED: Sunday, July 29, 2012 - 2:38pm

UPDATED: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 4:15pm

Violence within the Baton Rouge city limits has remained in the forefront of recent local media coverage. In the past week alone five people were shot to death. At least three, including two juveniles, were shot but will recover. In addition, there was an armed robbery and kidnapping as well as the kidnapping and rape of a woman that happened in broad daylight.

All of the violent crime is compounded by the reality that the Baton Rouge Police Department is understaffed by roughly 39 officers. But relief is in sight.

Beginning July 30, 34 new officers will begin a 20 week training program in BRPD’s academy. This is the first new class of officers since 2009.

“It will allow for more manpower to be put on the streets,” Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, Baton Rouge Police Department, explained. “As soon as they are released from the program they will be placed in uniform patrol and they will be on the streets of Baton Rouge.”

But not all will make it through the program.

“About 10 percent on average do not make it through,” Chief Dewayne White said. “With the different measurement tests, we’re able to determine whether they have what it takes and if they have it within themselves to really make it as an officer.”

The rigorous training process is necessary to make sure that only the best make it to the ranks.
“They go through reviews, background checks, and they have to pass a weekly test, which consists of topics ranging from Louisiana law, to physical fitness, to pistol range,” Cpl. McKneely, noted.

An increase of boots on the ground should go a long to way to helping curb violent crime in the city. However, the increase of manpower will not be in place until the first week of December. For now, Chief White has focused his attention on finding ways to streamline current systems for maximum efficiency, as well as beginning programs (BRAVE) that take a proactive rather than reactive approach toward fighting crime. 

“We’re doing monthly community outreach meetings in inner city areas,” Chief White noted. “We try to visit each of our inner city districts. We also visit with an inner city church as well.”

CORRECTION: This story originally reported that this is the first new class of officers since 2009, which was provided to us during our interview with Chief White. We have since been informed that there was another new class of officers between that time period that began on August 22, 2011. We’re told 25 officers were in that class. We apologize for this error.

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