Local reactions to Executive Order for police reform

Law enforcement leaders and city officials talk about how police reform affects Cenla
Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 7:46 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - President Trump’s signing of an executive order that calls for police reform has drawn reactions from law enforcement leaders and city officials.

In Cenla we've heard reactions from Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall, along with Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood and Darrell Basco, who serves as President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“Some of the things that he put in the Executive Order we’re already doing here in Louisiana,” said Basco in reference creating a database to track police officers with multiple reports of misconduct. That’s just one of the things that are called for in the executive order. Basco says Louisiana is already a little bit ahead of the game because that database was created in the state about two years ago. “There’s a lot of agencies and departments throughout the United States that do not follow strict guidelines or have the types of things that we have in place in Louisiana. And I think this is one of the cases where Louisiana can actually stand above a lot of other states and say we’re doing it right,” said Basco.

That order also calls on departments to involve social workers and mental health professionals in certain situations, along with increasing officer training and holding them to a much higher standard. Mayor Hall says he wants to involve the public when it comes to some organizational changes that need to be made in policing. “It never hurts to listen and put people in a position where they can speak freely and speak specifically to areas that we need to address,” he says.

Sheriff Wood says training was increased several years ago in the Regional Police Academy here in Cenla, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas where improvement can be made. He says, “We need to continue with our diversity training, our de-escalation training. I think that’s something that needs to be pushed”.

All of this comes during a time when yet another class has graduated from the Regional Police Academy. It’s a time when law enforcement is under scrutiny all over the United States, but some men and women are still choosing to go into the profession. Mayor Hall says this to those men and women, “This is a wonderful career. Policing is a very hard profession and it’s very difficult to find good people and keep them. We want them to work with honor respect and with the ability that we’re going to do all we can to keep them properly trained so they can do the very best that they can do in that profession”.

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