Monroe Police Chief Reggie Brown talks Police violence and accountability

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MONROE, La. (06/08/2020) — Like many, Chief Brown became a police officer to make a difference. Their role is to protect people and maintain order but recently the duties of an officer have been questioned.

Q: What’s your first reaction to the death of George Floyd?
A: “We are public servants number one and we’re also first responders number two. So anytime that an incident occurs where we might have to use a level of force, we have to also be able to look at the opportunity to be able to deescalate the situation as well. Whenever a threat ends, that’s when our level of force decreases. But we also as first responders we have to be able to render aid.”

Some believe those things did not happen when George Floyd was detained by a Minneapolis Police officer. As a fellow law enforcement official Brown says, “The actions did not appear to be within normal police training and police protocol.”

Q: What’re you all doing here in Monroe to ensure that your officers are prepared to handle any type of situation?

A: “More diversity training. And so basically understanding our community and the types of communities that we deal with. When you understand their behaviors and the things that they go through, you’re able to understand why they react in different ways to police.”

Q: Some people have felt more compelled to share their opinions whether that’s negative or positive. Even here in this community, we’ve seen some officials, and just normal people, professors spewing racist remarks, what is your response to that?

A: “When comments are made from civil servants it could spark protests, it could spark civil unrest, riots, and things of that nature and it further puts our police at the forefront.”

So he cautions against it because if civil unrest happens, they have to do their job and maintain public safety.

Q: What do you think can be done to improve community and police relations?

A: “What we’ve learned is to be more understanding of each other’s opinions and to try to learn more about each other’s culture to now where we can communicate more effectively and we can stand together in solidarity when injustices take place.”

Brown believes that can start with everyone having a seat at the table.

“A conversation should be had as it relates to race in our community and I’ll be the first to take a stand and lead that effort.”

Chief Reggie Brown, Monroe Police Department

Chief Brown says when the department got bodycams for the officers, complaints dropped significantly because of the accountability placed on the officer and the citizen. They’ve also seen success with the city’s DARE and SAVE program, which is geared toward creating positive relationships between the youth and law enforcement.

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