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Legal Lines with Locke Meredith

Show # 134, Guest: Dewayne White


Attorney Locke Meredith interviews Chief of Baton Rouge Police, Dewayne White, on Crime in Baton Rouge and what he is doing to stop it.

From 1983 to 1990, Chief White worked for the Baton Rouge Police, after that he served as a State Trooper until this past May 30th, when he was asked to be Chief of Police in Baton Rouge. In his police career, Chief White made Sergeant in seven years, Lieutenant in nine years, Captain four years later, and eventually Major. This time provided him with extensive experience in management, budgeting, crisis response, SWAT, and others areas. His new role of Chief of Baton Rouge police has been a challenge, Chief White says, but one he welcomes.

Chief White explains the difference between the State Police and City Police. State Police, he says, are typically fulfilling more regulatory duties. As a State Trooper, he brought forth a lot of legislation to the state. One bill that was passed pertained to second offense drivers handling hazardous materials, causing them to lose their endorsement to continue. Within six months after this bill was passed, there was a 47% decrease in the number of hazardous material spill incidents.

Chief White works with City Police, State Police and the Sheriff’s Office. The VCU offers office space at State Police Headquarters for all three of these authorities to work together to solve crimes and make the community safer. Since the inception of the VCU, Chief White says he has seen a lot of progress with crime stopping thanks to the integration of information. The importance of well-trained Police is highlighted by both Meredith and Chief White, and Chief White explains that only the best and most seasoned veterans are filling crucial roles like homicide investigators.

As far as local crime, Chief White discusses the fact that it has increased since 2005, due to new demographics. In 1983, when Chief White joined the Baton Rouge City Police, they had 600 officers. Now in 2012, they only have 651, yet the city has grown tremendously. He believes we need 800 officers here in Baton Rouge to properly be able to fight crime. As Chief of Police, he went out on duty with a 2nd District Police officer, and he witnessed the officer going from call to call to call, as other members of his squad do as well, with no ability to do any proactive work. Chief White believes we need more police so they can get out and be involved in their communities to better fight crime. Building relationships with kids in the community is a challenge that Baton Rouge Police are facing, especially with a huge lack of trust between the African American community and Police. With a greater diversity in ethnicities on the Police Force, Chief White believes they could be more effective. Chief White encourages African Americans and Hispanics alike to apply to become Baton Rouge Police Officers.

When Chief White took office at Police Chief in Baton Rouge, he found the divisions to be far too specialized, as well as officers doing jobs that civilians can do. He has been making changes in these areas, trying to work with the limited resources he has. He is trying to do what is best for the city, while dealing with an $80 Million budget which prevents him from being able to hire more people on the force. A new issue is a bond coming up next year, dedicated solely to the police force. Chief White explains that this is a necessity list, which includes more jail space and a joint building for the Sheriff’s Office and City Police. Unfortunately, Chief White says that there is no provision in this new bond to hire more officers. The show comes to a close.

<h2>Baton Rouge Attorney</h2>