A Baton Rouge native, I was proud to be in LSU’s very first law enforcement (bachelor of science) class that graduated in 1974. I looked forward to fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a police officer in the Baton Rouge Police Department, working there in the mid-70’s.
Woody Dumas was mayor, and, like Kip Holden, he loved to personally run the BRPD. Howard Kidder was chief and was politically smart enough to “do what he was told.”
After just a few years, I sadly realized that if I wanted to be a professional police officer, it wasn’t going to be in Baton Rouge. Reluctantly, I moved to Columbus, Ga., joined the Columbus Police Department — where politics was, and is, not a controlling factor — and retired in 2002 after 25 years, at the rank of major.
Fast forward to today, and I see politics is as bad, if not worse, than ever in Baton Rouge. Chief Dewayne White is squeezed between a whining union on one side and a micromanaging mayor on the other, hog-tied and unable to do his job. The only difference is that Chief White isn’t as good as Kidder was at “being a good little boy and doing what he is told to do” by Mayor Holden.
Your article states that Chief White was, “given a direct order by the mayor of Baton Rouge that he was not allowed to make any personnel decisions, he was not allowed to discipline any officers, transfer any officers, move any officers or do anything with respect to the officers under his command unless the Mayor’s Office approved it personally.” Boy, that’s sounds hauntingly familiar to me.
Obviously things haven’t changed much since I was there 40 years ago. Disgusting politics at its inexcusably worst. Whether King Dumas from last century, or King Holden from this century ... the same corrupt system. I’m amazed that my former neighbors and friends in Baton Rouge still put up with it.
I hated moving away from my hometown (Geaux BRHS Bulldogs, and Geaux LSU Tigers!) — I left a lot of friends behind. But leaving the Baton Rouge Police Department was the smartest career choice I ever made.
retired police officer
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