POSTED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 5:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 3:50pm
Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — Members of the public were invited to comment before a panel that is considering the reaccreditation request of the Baton Rouge Police Department. None showed up.
The department is seeking accreditation for the sixth time from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies . The process is voluntary and done mainly to bolster the department's reputation.
"We do this in order to show the community that we are a top-ranked police department," stated interim chief Carl Dabadie.
Inspectors arrived in Baton Rouge on Sunday and plan to spend much of this week poring over the department's files and practices. They want to see if it trains its staff well and if the officers work well with the community. Public feedback is a big part of that.
"This gives them an opportunity to where they actually have one-on-one conversations with the community that we actually police," Dabadie said. "So you get some good intel from that."
Monday evening, BRPD hosted a public meeting to make it easy for people to give their comments or complaints to the CALEA inspectors. But the only people in the crowd were BRPD employees and public officials. The only ones who chose to talk were District Attorney Hillar Moore and Councilman John Delgado.
"They're responsive to the public, and I think that's a very important thing to look at," Delgado told the two-man panel. "It's not only the 'protecting' aspect of it, but it's the service part of it, too."
Moore said he was impressed with the demographic makeup of the police department, that it hired officers that look like the city as a whole. He singled out the importance of hiring black men, because they are more highly affected by crime than other groups. He also praised the department's leadership for their spirit of cooperation.
"Baton Rouge enjoys, probably and enviously, the best relationship amongst all the different agencies--police department, sheriff, constable, all the federal agencies--than any other city (in Louisiana)," Moore said.
While Dabadie would have preferred to have people attend the meeting and tell the inspectors that his department is improving, he took their absence to be a positive thing.
"You always want community involvement," he stated. "I'd like to think that maybe this is a sign that we are doing a pretty good job.
"I think we have a very good relationship with the community. I think that we're very community-oriented in the police department. We get out in the community a lot, so we stay in touch with them a pretty good bit."
For anyone who could not attend the meeting but still wants a chance to comment, there is another chance to share concerns or praise.
The CALEA assessors will take phone calls about the department during a special period from 2:00-4:00 p.m.Tuesday.
You may call either (225) 389-3836 or (225) 389-5641.