LPD holds open forum on Nov. 6 as part of accreditation process

Photo by: Aaron Gonsoulin
Members of the Lafayette Police Department listen at comments for their open forum on Nov. 6 as part of their re-accreditation process

Aaron Gonsoulin
@Aaron_Gonsoulin

Community relations is an essential part of police work, which the Lafayette Police Department emphasized at an open forum Wednesday, Nov. 6.

As part of their four-year accreditation process for the commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement , the Lafayette Police Department held the forum to illustrate how the department interacts with the public.

The LPD’s last accreditation was back in 2013 and as they are up again, they let members speak at the open forum to demonstrate why they should be re-accredited.

“If LPD isn’t accredited, they can see major changes to their program from the top down, to even firings,” according to CALEA website. “It helps keep the LPD in line with what CALEA strives for-accountability. Those who are part of the department at LPD are held accountable for the actions of the LPD.”

“Part of the four-year accreditation process is that CALEA sends two independent assessors to come and look at our agencies and to see how our agency operates,” Captain Brad Ridge said.

The goal for the accreditation process is to ensure the LPD is operating with the standards that CALEA has established.

“Two of the main standards CALEA established is policy and procedure when it comes to having problems,” Ridge said.

He said there are 484 standards and some of them don’t apply to them because of the nature of their work but they comply with 380 of those standards.

Ridge added the re-accreditation gives the LPD a chance to assist the community of Lafayette, noting it involves professionalism and service to the community.

“It takes an entire community coming together,” Ridge said. “The police are only a small part of it but an important part of the community. The people have to support the police and the police have to support the people.”

Jay Callaway, a Lafayette resident, said the LPD goes above and beyond to assist the community of Lafayette.

Callaway said the LPD showed how law enforcement and the community can work together to the community a safer and better place for everyone in Lafayette and the Lafayette Parish.

“They did everything from community walks to different events in the community,” Callaway said.

According to The Washington Post, 783 people were shot and killed by police in the U.S. in 2019. Even though those numbers are high, Ridge said he believes the relationship between the people and the community of Lafayette improved.

“It’s gotten better,” Ridge said. “If you keep up with national events, there are a lot of cities that are having trouble in their communities. It doesn’t necessarily mean the police are doing anything wrong. Each thing would have to be settled on a case-by-case basis.”

The relationships like Ridge’s and the LPD’s caught the attention of Lafayette resident Tonya Ball. Ball, 38, added she could count on one hand the number of previous interactions she’s had with members of the LPD.

“I must say, this has been the most interaction I have had with the Lafayette Police Department, prior to this year,” Ball said.

Ridge said when the LPD and the community of Lafayette can come together, it makes the relationship stronger.

“We are part of that community,” Ridge said. “And once you take ownership, we become part of you and you become part of if it and it meshes together.”

Interview with Captain Brad Ridge
Video courtesy Aaron Gonsoulin

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