Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis speaks at the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis, who was appointed last year to reform the embattled law enforcement agency, said Monday he is making significant leaps to diversify his agency and will soon usher in new technology to better manage personnel.
Part of his reform measures include using a new dispatch system that will allow department heads immediate access to records that can, among other things, track the behavior of troopers.
The agency currently relies on supervisors to submit paperwork to hold troopers accountable for policy violations, Davis said. But that system is localized and not shared among the troop divisions throughout the state. For instance, Davis said, if department heads want to access the record of a certain call or incident, they must call the troop supervisor and request the paperwork.
The agency has hired a company to replace that outdated structure with a computer-aided dispatch system that will be interconnected among all regional troops statewide, Davis said. It will help with both tracking criminal activity and managing personnel. He expects it to be fully implemented by July of 2022.
Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Davis in October 2020 after the agency was rocked by several high-profile incidents of troopers using excessive force against Black and Brown motorists such as 49-year-old Ronald Greene who died in 2019 after being beaten by a group of white troopers. A report compiled by the agency found that 67% of their use of force incidents involved Black or Brown people.
Speaking at the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, Davis said he was disturbed by that report but said more research is needed to see what variables may have had an impact on that finding.
“We don’t choose who we come in contact with,” Davis said. “We follow the evidence. We follow the information. We follow the intelligence. And from there we do our jobs, and we will continue to do our jobs to try to impact public safety. But it doesn’t mean that we should not be taking a look at this information to determine if there is something that we can improve upon, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
The agency also began its 100th training academy class this fall, and Davis said it is one of the most diverse classes in the history of the Louisiana State Police.
“I think that’s important because our society has become more diverse,” he said. “For me, diversity has always been a value added…That’s what I’m building throughout our department…I think we’ll all see the benefits of it.”
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