POSTED: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 11:30am
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 1:21pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — Chief Dewayne White today announced that he intends to take several steps aimed at putting more uniformed patrol officers on the streets to protect and serve the citizens of Baton Rouge.
The first is that all 33 recent graduates of the 78th Basic Academy, who are now participating in the Field Training Officers (FTO) program, will remain assigned to Patrol upon completing their field training, and no other officers will be transferred from Patrol to any specialized divisions at that time, as has been the practice in the past.
“Traditionally when 30 new trainees finish their FTO program, about 30 veteran officers would then be moved from Patrol to specialized divisions,” Chief White said. “As a result, for many years Patrol has remained at roughly the same size, even though our population has grown and demands for services have escalated.”
The same process will apply when the 79th Basic Academy, which is scheduled to start in February, graduates and completes their field training later this year. 25-30 trainees are expected to comprise that class.
“The net result of these moves should put nearly 60 more officers into the Uniformed Patrol Division, which is the foundation of our department and the first line of defense for the public,” White said.
Finally, White intends to conduct a thorough assessment of staffing of all specialized divisions and offices throughout the department with an eye toward moving some officers from those divisions back into Patrol if possible.
“We have a number of specialized administrative, support and investigative divisions, and they do important work,” White said. “However, our first and primary mission must be crime prevention and meeting the public’s expectations for front-line service. That may require us to reprioritize some of our staffing.”