Police Union Leaders Speak Out Against Anti-Police Legislation in Current Session

 Leaders of the Baton Rouge Police Union and the association of police organizations statewide told Capital area Republican leaders that HB 609 by Rep. Edmond Jordan is a threat to law and order and safe communities. Siya Creel, vice president of the Baton Rouge Police Union, said the bill would cause many police officers to leave the force and recruiting new officers would be even more difficult.

The Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon heard from Creel; Chris Stewart, executive director of the Association of State Enforcement Officers, and Jack Whitehead, attorney for the local Police Union.

State law provides that all public agencies, officials, and employees have “qualified immunity” from civil liability when acting in the normal course and scope of their employment.  However, Jordan’s bill would take away that immunity for law enforcement officers. 

Lobbyists for the Louisiana Sheriffs Association, which represents the 65 elected sheriffs in the state but not the deputies or city police officers, have given support to Jordan’s bill.

But some Republican legislators said the sheriffs are protecting their political interests back home and not the interests of front line law enforcement officials.  “Let’s face it,” one said, “the sheriffs are trying to get their per diem for housing inmates increased by the governor and they are letting him and the legislative black caucus call the shots.” 

  Another lawmaker said there is no way lowly paid police officers can afford to buy individual liability insurance protection.  “If the legislature wants police officers to be subject to frivolous lawsuits, they should appropriate state funds to purchase the insurance.”  He noted that legislators and every state employee at the Capitol has qualified immunity protection.

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