Impacting Legislation on Police Reform in Louisiana

Efforts at “Police Reform” have been ongoing every since the unfortunate death of George Floyd. Those reform efforts seem to have been focused on qualified immunity, but have ventured into other areas as well. Click here for more information particular to reform efforts in Louisiana. The Fraternal Order of Police has not shied away from the challenge. These reformers’ efforts appear to focus on being able to punish individual officers instead of making change where it matters.

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division often finds itself tasked with entering into consent decrees with local police department in order to disrupt an alleged pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing. In order to do so, the consent decrees entered in federal court seek to ensure the rules and regulations lay out a structure that leads to constitutional policing. The consent decrees do NOT regulate the behavior of individual police officers. The consent decrees seek to regulate the administration of the department as opposed to regulating individual officers.

The fact is that, while there are always exceptions to the rule, police officers are doing exactly what is expected of them by their supervisors and leadership. If a police department’s administration says “don’t worry about the complaints” or “use stop and frisk on everyone,” it is no surprise when officers comply with those attitudes. The attitudes and behaviors are a direct result of the instructions and directives from the top down. When officers engage in behaviors the community does not support, it is almost certainly the result of directives and attitudes from their superiors — all the way up to elected officials.

Unfortunately, these “reform” efforts have focused on the individual officers instead of the elected officials and police administrators. Reform efforts have sought to make it easier to punish individual officers instead of making any real change.

YOU MUST JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST THESE BILLS BECOMING LAW

By using Voter Voice, you can easily send emails to the appropriate legislators letting them know how you feel. If we want to see a law enforcement profession that will continue into the future, we cannot lose qualified immunity. Who would take a job that could result in that person losing everything they own because they made an honest mistake? What if that honest mistake led not only to the individual who took a job as a law enforcement officer, but that individual’s whole family? If you had to worry about losing the college savings when you had for your children when working in a certain profession, would you take that job in that profession? If you did take a job in that profession, I would question whether you should have passed the psychological exams during the application process.

Click here to go to the Louisiana FOP Voter Voice. You can either use pre-fabricated emails or modify the email to suit your own feelings. Emails are the most common method when constituents contact their legislators. The FOP, as an organization, has fought for you, our members, every day. The FOP has engaged in dialogues with legislators who are pro-police and those who were anti-police. The FOP has been working with a lobbyist in Baton Rouge for years now. Louisiana FOP President Darrell Basco had a seat on the Police Reform Committee and was able to represent the rank and file police officers. I testified before the Civil Law Committee at the Louisiana Capitol regarding qualified immunity. I also testified before the Police Reform Committee on behalf of our members regarding the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights.

Of immediate interest, HB 609 seeks to deny officers the benefit of qualified immunity. The potential loss of qualified immunity may be the single biggest threat to the law enforcement profession. It is also the best example of how these “reforms” target individual police officers.

Police officers in Louisiana have to step up and let their elected officials know they oppose HB 609. Police officers in Louisiana should also encourage their friends and family in Louisiana to do the same and let their elected officials know they oppose HB609. You can click here to go to Voter Voice above to do so easily.

However, none of this will mean anything without your individual efforts. Also, these are complicated issues requiring negotiations that may not seem normal. Please do not rush to judgment. Rest assured that the FOP is always doing its best for its members.

Please click here to familiarize yourself with the issues facing Louisiana Law Enforcement.

Please click here to access the Louisiana FOP Voter Voice to let your elected officials know how you feel about pending legislation.

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