BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — In 2022 the Baton Rouge Police Department will have a $95 million budget to work with, a two percent increase from this year.

“Fifty-five percent of our budget goes for public safety, of all means, police, fire, etc.,” said Darryl Gissel, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s Chief Administrative Officer.

BRPD will also get a portion of $14 million for public safety.

Chief Murphy Paul said current community initiatives have shown positive change. Their focus next year is problem-solving through the community.

“We have seen an actionable intelligence information from this program as it relates to potential violence,” said Chief Paul.

Deanthony Straughter is a father of three in North Baton Rouge living in the 70805 zip code, one of the deadliest neighborhoods.

“I’m talking from Baton Rouge as a whole. A lot of gun violence, a lot of people dying senseless,” said Straughter.

Straughter said it is too dangerous for his children to play outside, day or night. He agrees with Chief Paul that residents need to put in work for change.

“A lot of people just don’t want to hear, people don’t want to listen, people don’t want to listen to what’s right,” he said.

Millions of dollars will be used to recruit more officers. Right now, there are 80 open positions in the department. BRPD is just one of many cities facing a nationwide shortage of officers.

“We average 50 vacancies a year in the past decade,” said Chief Paul. “We’re hiring a little different right now. We’re excited, look at the number of young officers, young people who want to serve.”

Paul hopes to create a more efficient team in 2022.

“Changing a culture is hard and that’s what we are changing,” he said. “Crime is just not a policing issue. It’s a community issue.” 

The full 2022 East Baton Rouge budget is available here.