BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Community advocates are calling for some major changes to law enforcement in the capital city. They said they’re ready to take their concerns to the federal level.
Local organizations such as Promise of Justice Initiative and PREACH have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate East Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies.
“We are looking to instigate a pattern and practice investigation, typically civil rights investigations,” said Promise of Justice Initiative member Miriam Thorne.
The groups say the East Baton Rouge law enforcement system has a history of power abuse.
“It is about police brutality, about police corruption, about children being attacked by police dogs,” said Presenting Resources Effectively Applying Christlike Humbleness (PREACH) Executive Director Rev. Alexis Anderson.
Advocates said it’s not just a problem with one agency, but an issue with the system as a whole.
“These instances are nothing new. They have gained tremendous attention in the last few months. As the letter shows, these issues are decades and over centuries-old,” said Thorne.
That’s why they are requesting federal help.
“We’re asking because we want it to be better,” said Rev. Anderson.
These local groups hope this request provides an outside investigation into law enforcement practices, while many law enforcement agencies said they have been working hard for progression, growth and reform.
“We are forever changing as law enforcement and we are changing with law enforcement in an attempt to make sure we provide all the tools necessary not just to the offices, but to the community to be held accountable,” said BRPD Public Information Officer Sgt. L’Jean McKneely.
BRPD said they’ve made a great effort in improving their policies to benefit the community.
“The department is constantly reviewing policy and best practices that best fit Baton Rouge and work better for not only us but the community,” said Sgt. McKneely.
That letter went to the justice department on Wednesday morning.