POSTED: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 5:30am
UPDATED: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 12:10pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — A new system that hopes to boost officer morale by speeding up the system for processing prisoners hit a bit of an unexpected snag. However, BRPD Chief Dewayne White says operations should gain a major boost by the end of the month.
It’s called the PPT (Prisoner Processing Team) and it was the number one complaint Chief White heard from his officers upon taking office. The old system required officers to book and process prisoners at First District before transporting to the Parish Prison. It was a system that caused major delays.
“The officers, at present, are required to bring the prisoners to First District on Plank Road before they can go to the Parish Prison,” Chief White noted. “In some cases they have to spend up to four hours on one arrest. That’s half of a shift.”
To correct this, Chief White collaborated with Sheriff Gautreaux and the EBR Parish Prison to come up a new way of doing business.
Under the new system, the Parish Prison will house a total of eight Baton Rouge police department officers who will be devoted to processing BRPD prisoners, only. An arresting officer will have the ability, essentially, to drop the prisoner off and leave without waiting for the full processing to be completed.
“We’re going to take them to prison directly, no waiting,” Cpt. Attuso, Administrative Assistant to Chief White and key player in coordinating the new PPT, said. “There’s also no longer a waiting period for that officer.”
This system was supposed to be in place by June 19. However, an unforeseen obstacle blocked the way.
“We have civilian personnel who run the fingerprinting system,” Chief White explained. “In order for them to work at Parish Prison, it’s necessary for them to complete a 90 hour course, first.”
There are 16 civilian personnel who must complete the course. Chief White says they will complete the training required within the next few weeks.
“Had we known about the class requirement, we would have gotten ahead of the curve,” Chief White added. “After this is completed, we have determined that there will be no other obstacles.”
The new PPT system should be up and running around the same time the Baton Rouge police department begins a new officer class. This will be the first class for the department since 2009.
Beginning July 20, 35 potential candidates will begin the process to determine whether or not they will make it to the field.
“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,” Chief White, said. “About 10 percent on average do not make it through.”
The new recruits are essential given that BRPD has had roughly 37 vacant positions available for quiet some time, leaving the department understaffed in a city that’s ranking as one of the most violent in the nation.
Chief White believes that the new PPT system and the new officer class will provide the necessary restructuring and manpower that it will take to reduce violent offenses in the city.
“Even though we know we have a shortage of officers on the road, the added reduction in time per arrest by officers will more than make up for the loss of man power by those individuals,” Chief White said. “…I believe that we keep trying some of the traditional methods that no longer yield viable results, so why don’t we try something new.”