BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul is proposing a $103 million budget for the 2023 fiscal year. This is a 5.6 percent increase from this year.

“Recruitment and retention were one of our high priorities,” said Chief Paul.

Chief Paul says he’s seen success with recruitment thanks to a 13 percent pay increase approved by the city council. However, Paul says more needs to be done. The budget proposes incentives of $10,000 to $15,000 for new hires. Paul says there are vacancies now ahead of a busy holiday season.

“I think the last report I looked at was about 105 vacancies. We average 50 vacancies a year,” he said.

Educational allowances are up by 50 percent in the 2023 budget. This is also part of their recruitment strategies.

“If you have a Bachelor’s degree you receive $2,000, the 2023 budget has a 50 percent increase on that I believe the Master’s degree is $2500,” said Chief.

With multiple reports claiming Baton Rouge as one of the most dangerous cities in the country, Chief Paul says gun violence is a primary focus.

According to BRPD, homicides are down by 21% compared to this time last year.

“Let’s be clear, one homicide is far too many,” said Chief Paul.

Paul says strategies like increasing police presence in high-crime areas are working. He is also calling on the community for assistance.

“We have our connect blue camera share program. Cameras are becoming our new witnesses. We are getting a lot of information from people in the community who are sharing their ring cameras,” he said.

The budget also includes $15 million for personal and safety needs like a new 5th district station downtown. Some of the budget will be funded through the American Rescue Plan. 

The Chief and Mayor will present this budget ahead of the metro council for full approval next month.

Nearly 56 percent of the city’s general fund is dedicated to public safety.

The full budget is available here.