A letter writer recently suggested that anti-violence programs in Baton Rouge are underfunded and not supported by the mayor and chief of police. As chief administrative officer for East Baton Rouge City-Parish government, I can assure the citizens that the facts prove otherwise.

Since 2017, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s administration has dedicated over $27.3 million to bring the Baton Rouge Police Department to 21st-century policing standards. This includes equipping all officers with state-of-the-art body cameras, purchasing 300 new vehicles to restore a depleted fleet, purchasing all new radios which tie into a real-time Crime Center designed to streamline databases, identify trends, and determine crime patterns to help officers prevent and solve crimes.

New programs promoted and funded to assist in the reduction of Violence include the new Bridge Center for Hope, a stabilization center which will provide officers a place to bring those in mental health and substance abuse crisis, and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council designed to provide our police a seat at the table with the district attorney, judges and others in the criminal justice arena to discuss and solve issues they face.

Based on our transformative efforts, the U.S. Justice Department and other federal agencies have awarded Baton Rouge over $10 million in grants to provide anti-violence community-based programs. An example is the Collective Healing Grant which is designed to help communities develop a preventive and a reparative focus to reduce tension between law enforcement and the community.

Lastly, at the request of the mayor, the Metro Council approved funding to conduct a management/efficiency study of BRPD. Those recommendations are in the process of implementation to bring BRPD in alignment with national best practices and standards. With the support of the Metro Council and our officers, we will be able to enact the recommended measures to create a clear path toward success for our officers and the community they serve.

DARRYL GISSEL

city-parish chief administrative officer

Baton Rouge

Letters: The city's problems with safety are just pointed out by police union