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Lafayette Police Department’s (LPD) Community Relations Board is currently writing legislation to bring police reform to Lafayette.
Alzina Dural, a LPD’s Community Relation Board member, is involved in the writing of the “8CantWait” legislation. Dural said the legislation seeks to reform the Lafayette Police in eight ways by: banning chokeholds, requiring de-escalation, requiring warning before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, duty to intervene, ban shooting at moving vehicles, require a use of force continuum and comprehensive reporting.
Dural said there is currently no timeline for when the writing of the legislation will be finished.
If the reform were adopted, the LPD would be the first police department in Louisiana to implement the “8CantWait” legislation, Dural said.
The legislation will need approval from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. If approved, it would then be up to the LPD and Mayor-President Josh Guillory on whether they would implement the reforms, according to Dural.
Abraham “AB” Rubin Jr., a Lafayette Parish council member, said he supports police reform in Lafayette and believes reform can improve communities and save lives in Lafayette.
While Rubin and Dural would like to see all items in the legislation implemented, de-escalation and lethal force as a last resort are the major reforms they wish to see.
“Exhaust all your resources before you pull that trigger,” said Dural.
Both said they believe if the reforms are put in place, situations like the death of Trayford Pellerin back in August might have been prevented. Pellerin was shot and killed by Lafayette police officers after calls about disturbances involving a man with a knife, according to an article by The Daily Advertiser.
“Trayford would still be alive today,” said Rubin.
Aside from the “8CantWait” legislation, Rubin said he hopes to see more police reform implemented in Lafayette.
Community policing is one-way Rubin said Lafayette citizens can improve their relationship with the police. Community policing is a law enforcement philosophy in which police officers work in a specific area of a community to become more familiar with community members.
This would allow police officers to learn and respond accordingly to members of a community that live with mental illness, mental disabilities and/or drug addictions, according to Rubin. He said police officers could possibly prevent crimes by speaking directly to inhabitants and relatives of community members since they are imbedded within the area.
Rubin said he also wishes to see other reform methods in the future such as diversity training, yearly psychological evaluations, and mandatory drug testing for steroid or alcohol use after discharging a weapon
“I want [the police] to know how to deal with people that look like me,” said Rubin.
Dural said she is focusing on police reform locally, but hopes to see “8CantWait”-style legislation adopted across Louisiana.
Rubin said proper community policing can only be achieved with the help of the citizens and making sure police officers are informed on the happenings within a community.
“The police cannot do this by themselves,” Rubin said.