BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Members of a committee created to review candidates for Baton Rouge’s next Police Chief are giving an insight into the selection process and what impact the community will have in that decision.
As the search for the next Chief of Police in Baton Rouge gets underway, former NAACP President, Eugene Collins, an alternate, is one of the chosen few to sit on the mayor’s advisory committee for this hiring process.
“Just having community members in the room. That says a lot, right? Because sometimes we feel like these decisions are just made for us and we’re taxpaying citizens. So, to have the ability to just to sit in a room and have the ability to serve and be a voice for folks that maybe don’t have a voice in this process. That’s what we work for,” said Collins.
Collins says creating an advisory committee, continues to build transparency. One of the many qualities people are looking for in the next leader.
“You don’t hear them saying defund the police, right? You hear them talking about accountability. And that’s something that I think this chief, and this department has delivered here over the last five years. So, I think any chief coming in needs to build on that. And if you’re not willing to build on that, I don’t think you should be chief of Baton Rouge,” said Collins.
Bill Profita, a spokesperson for the police union, says officers in the running have completed a test created by the Civil Service Board. Now, the mayor is in a decision-making phase, which is thorough and has no set time frame for completion.
“It’s important to remember that under our plan of government, there’s no vote of the council. There is no board that convenes that can sway her. It is the mayor’s decision solely,” said Profita.
According to Profita, most larger cities don’t have an election process for the chief of police. That position is appointed by the mayor.
The purpose of the union is to make sure everything is fair. To ensure officers have proper representation, and pay, among other things. Profita says having an input could make a difference.
“The cops want the same thing in a police chief that the public wants. They want an experienced man or woman that cares deeply about the community, cares deeply about who they serve, and cares deeply about their officers,” said Profita.
Like many, the union and other advocacy groups hope to build a strong relationship with whomever the next chief is.
“You got to think about where the city is headed and not really where it is,” said Collins.
The first committee meeting for the selection process is next week.