Posted: Sep 21, 2011 9:35 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - In an effort to make the Baton Rouge Police Department more accountable, Chief Dewayne White is asking the Metro Council to create three deputy chief positions.
"I hope the Metro Council agrees that these positions are paramount to the success of this agency," White told The Advocate. "Through these positions, I hope to gain accountability, professionalism and public trust."
White said the Police Department is lacking in all three of those areas, especially in the eyes of the city's black community, and without that community's support, "we will do little to regulate crime."
The department's current management structure allows captains to supervise captains, White said.
If created, the deputy chiefs would provide a more clear and definitive chain of command, heading the department's three main bureaus - uniform patrol, criminal investigation and administrative services, the chief said.
Unlike most positions with the Police Department, the deputy chief spots would not be filled based on seniority.
A bill enacted into law during the 2010 regular legislative session created a loophole in the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service promotional process, allowing deputy chief positions to be hired competitively.
Because of the loophole, a police department's governing authority must create the positions via an ordinance, the law says.
The Metro Council is slated to discuss the matter on Sept. 28.
The people chosen for such positions must hold the rank of sergeant or above and have at least eight years of law enforcement experience, the law says. Candidates also must pass a basic-skills eligibility test.
State Rep. Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said he authored the bill because police chiefs need "to have an assistant they can trust and depend on and be comfortable with.
"Under the civil service system, that doesn't always happen," he said.
White agreed and said he wants to select people who share his ideologies such as accountability, discipline, professionalism and selfless service.
"With more senior staff oversight, we can better push these ideologies down to the rank and file," he said.
The salaries and related benefits of the deputy chief positions would be absorbed through the reduction of seven captain positions by 2013, White said. The pay scale for the deputy police positions has not been created.