On June 10, the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council took up an item concerning body cameras for city police. It is my understanding that this item was rejected by the council because it is an unfunded mandate. The mandate debated on its own merits was generally civil. However, comments were made by some that were outrageous and offensive to all members of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

A police officer assaulting ANYONE unnecessarily is a serious accusation. To make such unprofessional and inflammatory comments with no real data to support them is reckless and detrimental to the well-being of our city. These comments are also damaging to the morale of the men and women of the Baton Rouge City Police Department. Officers of all races are troubled by these unfounded comments from our leaders.

Our chief, his staff, commanders and officers are committed to this community. They have chosen a dangerous profession because they are committed to the well-being of our city. They will continue to serve even though some of our leaders have gone on record in an attempt to destroy their credibility through comments that are not supported by local data.

Moving forward, I challenge each and every elected official to work on providing resources for our department so that we can effectively provide for the safety of our entire community. Our organization stands at the ready daily to do whatever it takes to build trust with the community. We cannot let misspoken words tear down the trust inside the department and administration for the sake of politics and grandstanding.

Let’s lead by example and truly become the next great city. The bickering and finger-pointing will continue to erode us away.

Chris Stewart

president, Baton Rouge Union of Police

Baton Rouge