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Baton Rouge trying to close out the books on BRAVE with $125K payment to LSU

The city-parish has come up with $125,000 it owes LSU for work university researchers did in 2016 and 2017 in connection with the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Program, or BRAVE.

The program, which ran for five years and targeted repeat offenders in some of the city’s highest crime areas, ended in September when its federal grant funding ran out and was not renewed.

But the city-parish still owed the LSU Office of Social Service Research and Development money for work researchers did trying to identify potential violent offenders and determine their likelihood of getting involved with certain gangs.

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s administration has placed an item on the agenda for the Dec. 13 Metro Council meeting to amend the city’s contract with LSU, increasing the amount from $681,233 to $803,233, which will make up for the additional $125,000 owed to LSU.

Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel says the money will come from remaining federal grant funds, not from the city’s operating budget.

“This is for work that wasn’t covered by the original grant amount,” Gissel says. “We’re just closing out the books on BRAVE before the end of the year.”   

The Broome administration’s handling of the BRAVE program came under fire earlier this year, amidst questions about controversial contracts and the feds’ refusal to let the city carry forward unspent grant funds. Broome ultimately canceled all BRAVE contracts.

The program ended in September, but District Attorney Hillar Moore, who spearheaded efforts to create the program in 2012, has continued to try to raise money through a nonprofit organization he created to help support some BRAVE initiatives.

—Stephanie Riegel

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