BR Police Chief DeWayne White Fired by Mayor

BR Police Chief DeWayne White Fired by Mayor

Problems with Police Union Could Have Played Role

BATON ROUGE — Mayor-President Kip Holden abruptly fired Police Chief DeWayne White Wednesday afternoon.  The mayor refused to explain his decision to reporters, saying he never comments on personnel matters.

White was informed of the decision only moments after completing a news conference with District Attorney Hillar Moore and Sheriff Sid Gautreaux on gun safety.

His attorney, Jill Craft, said the former chief would comment on the action Thursday.  White has 10 days to appeal the decision to the Civil Service Board.

On local TV news programs, a number of residents said Wednesday afternoon that they had confidence in White and were concerned about whether his efforts to fight crime in the inner city and reach out to neighborhoods would be continued.  Several members of the Metro Council expressed their support for White.

White is a decorated, 21-year veteran of the State Police.  He also served more than six years as a Baton Rouge city policeman.  He was named State Trooper of the Year in 2000.

A high-ranking police official who asked not to be identified said, “Chief White is a good man who has basically done a good job but he’s had difficulty working with the culture of the Police Department, especially the union.”  The source noted that most of his law enforcement experience is with State Police.  He said, “State Police has more of a command structure.  Chief of Police is different.  You have to answer to the Mayor, the Council, the public, the union, and the rank and file officers.  The Chief did not pay enough attention to some of those groups.  If the Chief is out at a crime scene, he is in charge, but day to day he has to deal with the politics of being chief.  It’s not so much a law enforcement issue as a way of working with people.”

The dismissal of White is the first firing of a police chief in Baton Rouge in more than 30 years.  One source said White’s dismissal was inevitable after the recent election.  “A number of rank-and-file officers, especially union members, supported the mayor’s reelection on the condition that White had to go,” he said.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!