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Consolidating the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office should be one of the major focuses in the upcoming election for Mayor-President of EBR Parish this fall. 

States across the U.S. are learning that the integration of law enforcement agencies have proven, positive results – it increases efficiency, provides for better service to the public and improves the ability to fight crime.

Agencies that work ‘together’ are good, but agencies that are merged become more effective and monies are spent more wisely avoiding duplication of services. 

Public safety in East Baton Rouge Parish is a major concern to residents with an ever-increasing crime rate.  Murders are up.  Home invasions are up.  The first ten minutes of the nightly news and the morning newspaper gives us a peak into not only what is happening across this parish, but what to expect in the future.

It is apparent that current Mayor-President Kip Holden has no plans to merge agencies at this time even though it would be an obvious improvement on all fronts.  Holden is pro-union and the BR Police Department falls under union guidelines while the EBR Sheriff’s Office does not.  This will be an argument Holden will use to fight a metro police force since he is so heavily influenced by local unions.

Merging law enforcement agencies would provide the citizens of EBR Parish with advantages such as :

  • Streamlining and improving communication by combining emergency, dispatch and records
  • Increasing effectiveness and response time by creating one major jurisdiction negating the need to cross-deputize officers – allowing the pooling of resources and improvement of parish-wide coverage
  • Uniting law enforcement under one umbrella guaranteeing a stronger team effort and increased effectiveness
  • Generating one mission, one philosophy and one culture for parish-wide law enforcement
  • Addressing the issue of pay inequity among law enforcement personnel by bringing officers in both agencies to comparable levels avoiding personnel from ‘force-hopping’
  • Laying the groundwork for more effective community policing and stronger uniformed patrol presence in neighborhoods
  • Creating a forum for more effective training among all law enforcement personnel
  • Reducing duplicating costs over time

A Metro Police Feasibility Committee should be set up immediately to include stakeholders.  This should not be a ‘political’ group, but a visionary group of business leaders, community activists and experienced law enforcement personnel that will see both the big picture and the details that will be effected by this merging. 

Outside of education, is there anything more important to the citizens of EBR Parish than public safety?  Now is the time.  THIS is the ‘real one Baton Rouge’!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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