BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana State Police is facing several public scandals and multiple excessive force cases. Now, under the supervision of Colonel Lamar Davis, they’re hoping to move forward with policy changes.
“We have to, one, tell them what’s expected of them, and, two, we have to provide them the proper training to show them what’s expected of them, and, three, we have to support them in those expectations and that starts with me,” Col. Davis said.
Since becoming Superintendent, Col. Davis has taken on addressing the use of force in the agency. An internal review showed 67% of uses of force in the agency were against Black men. Col. Davis said they have started implicit bias training and new policies to address the issue such as duty to intervene.
“I thought that was important because when we look at implicit bias, oftentimes most people don’t realize they look upon people based on their environment, based upon where they come from,” Col. Davis said.
There have been calls by civil rights groups, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, and others for the Department of Justice to investigate the policies and patterns of the agency. The Superintendent said he is looking to change bad behavior from the top down.
“I find it difficult to only deal with a trooper or only deal with an officer when they do something wrong,” Col. Davis said. “I want to look at that supervisor, I want to look at what they have done to curb or change that behavior.”
One issue was poor communication between the different troops. A new dispatch system will keep track of reports and what troopers are doing. The LSP was one of the few agencies in the country not to have one in place.
“It gives us an easier or more succinct system to look into to be able to determine in a more expeditious manner whether or not they’re performing their duties as they should or whether or not we have concerns,” Col. Davis said.
Following the death of Master Trooper Adam Gaubert where his body was not discovered for 12 hours, Col. Davis said there have been some policy changes to prevent that from happening in the future. But he would not provide details on what those changes are.
State Police are also down 200 troopers due to retirements, officers leaving the profession, or going to other agencies. They have created incentives, but Col. Davis said negative public opinion makes it harder to recruit and retain troopers.
So far the Department of Justice has not responded to the requests to investigate the State Police. The first hearing for the senate select committee investigating the agency will take place early next week.