The Advocate reports a measure placed on the city-parish’s Metro Council agenda Thursday would prohibit people like those officers, who live outside of city limits, from applying to work for the Baton Rouge Police Department in the future.
The ordinance would require all fresh hires starting in 2017 to live within city limits, which some say would be another hindrance for a police department already struggling to find recruits.
Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel said she and LaMont Cole are sponsoring the ordinance for residency requirements, which is up for introduction at the council’s July 27 meeting. It would come up for a public hearing and a vote on Aug. 10 unless a majority on the 12-member council vote not to introduce it, something that has happened on some controversial measures in the past.
Banks-Daniel and some other council members say they believe that police officers who live within city limits are better able to connect with the neighborhoods they patrol and police.
“The purpose is so that we can have a situation where we have officers and communities that are working together, where there’s a continual police presence in the community,” Banks-Daniel said.
But the timing of the ordinance has outraged other council members, some of whom say they hope it will be pulled from the agenda next week.
“We haven’t even buried the officers that we’ve lost and now we’re asking to make wholesale changes to the department that basically was ambushed and murdered in a very horrific scene?” said Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe. “I don’t even have words to describe how I feel.”
The proposal also drew a sharp rebuke from the Baton Rouge Union of Police, with the union’s president, C. Bryan Taylor expressing disgust over what he characterized as political pandering in the midst of tragedy.
A similar residency requirement for police officers, firefighters and EMS in New Orleans was scrapped in 2014 as a move to help recruiting officers there. City Council members there worried that it was impeding qualified applicants from applying.