Sgt. C. Bryan Taylor, president of the Local #237 chapter of the Baton Rouge Union of Police, released the following statement Monday regarding police residency requirements:
“I would like to take this means of conveyance to voice my opinion as President of the Baton Rouge Union of Police, Local #237, regarding police residency requirements.
This all began a few weeks back when members of the Baton Rouge City Council, as well as other members in the Baton Rouge community made attempts to restrict the hiring of qualified professional Police Officers to those living in the city limits of Baton Rouge. When this preposterous measure did not succeed, plan “B” was initiated with the attempt to hire within the Parish of East Baton Rouge.
I personally attended the Council Meeting where this measure came up for public hearing. This specific hearing was the most unprofessionally run hearing that I have had the misfortune of attending in my 21 years as a public servant for the City of Baton Rouge. Even with my limited knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order, I do understand “Point of Order”. I, along with many members of our organization and administration were subjected to threats against Law Enforcement, the community, ultimatums, divisiveness, and racism. It was apparent that the “constituents” who spoke believe that a residency requirement would mend the city’s problems. They also seemed to believe that the division between Law Enforcement and the African-American community is only the fault of the Police Department, taking no responsibility of their own and only offering excuses.
After much discussion, and the help of Council Member, John Delgado, the issue was ONLY deferred until the meeting of October 12th, stating that they need more information to make a wise decision. My question is ….Why didn’t the author of this measure reach out to the Police Department to get accurate detailed statistics on diversity hiring PRIOR to the hearing?
There have been trying times for our organization and its members, but none as severe as the last several months. In spite of personal, as well as professional tragedy, the brave men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department have continued to protect & serve the citizens of this community without hesitation. During the recent historic flood, these officers remained at their homes long enough to ensure the safety of their families before leaving to go help strangers of all races, ages and gender in the Baton Rouge area. Most of these Officers, who come from several surrounding parishes, did not even know if they had a home to return to but stayed committed to helping this community. During the 100+ hours I worked during the week of the flood, no one asked me where I live, or objected to the “militarized” vehicle used to rescue them. Not one person cared about the color of our skin or the uniform on our backs……but still this asinine topic lingers.
I ask myself why JUST the Baton Rouge Police Department, when there are other municipalities in the parish, along the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and Constable’s Office. Have their residency restrictions been addressed? Let’s ask ourselves the real reason for this measure. Let’s ask the author of this measure. Let’s be truthful that there are far greater concerns for the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge during these tumultuous times than to play politics. I implore the Metro Council to vote for what is right! This isn’t about pending votes in your district. This is simple. It is about what is right and what is wrong. It’s about having the most qualified law enforcement professionals protecting you and the citizens of this parish. This profession is a calling much like that of our Clergy partners. We didn’t just answer a “want ad” in the Sunday paper.
In closing, I would like to thank the Mayor’s Office, Police Department Administration, and every member of the Baton Rouge Police Department for all that they have done and continue to do. I am the luckiest person in the world because I get to work with my HEROES on a daily basis. God Bless you and your families.
Sgt. C. Bryan Taylor, President
Baton Rouge Union of Police, Local #237″
This follows a previous proposal that members of the Baton Rouge Police Department should live within Baton Rouge city limits.
Both the public and metro council members debated on the issue for three hours at the last metro council meeting, but the issue of a required public residency ordinance is on hold after the council ran out of time and were unable to vote.
The issue will be back on the council’s agenda at a future meeting.