Baton Rouge getting federal help in fight against crime

    Baton Rouge is expected to be selected on Thursday as 2019 participant of the Department of Justice’s National Public Safety Partnership, says U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin. 

    The program, which provides assistance to the most dangerous cities in America, began in 2017 and creates a framework to enhance existing law enforcement efforts through training and best practices. Baton Rouge had previously been named a diagnostic site for the program.

    “While it’s a little bittersweet that we have to be on the list,” Fremin says, “I am encouraged greatly by the fact that the attorney general recognizes Baton Rouge could use some additional federal resources.” 

    Baton Rouge is the only city transitioning from a diagnostic city to be selected for the program that comes with a 3-year commitment and an annual customized training symposium. 

    Fremin was unable to estimate the financial impact of the program on local agencies but says they’ve started efforts to identify focuses for the local partnership, including homicides, nonfatal shooting and technological efforts by the District Attorney’s office, city police and sheriff’s office.

    While homicide rates in Baton Rouge have fallen this year, Daily Report reported last month that nonfatal shootings have increased 27% compared to last year. To curb crime, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul detailed plans earlier this summer for the department to begin using the same records management as the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office, allowing for easier sharing of data.  A full-time police district downtown is also in the works. 

    “Every nonfatal shooting is one act of God, or perhaps science, away from another homicide,” says Fremin, who made the announcement at Wednesday’s Rotary Club luncheon. “We want to know how that data can help us identify dangerous offenders so we can bolster efforts already in place.”

    Other cities named to the 2019 program are Amarillo, Texas; Anchorage, Alaska; Anniston, Alabama; Baltimore, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Davenport, Iowa; Harris County, Texas;  Oxford, Alabama; and Wichita, Kansas.

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