Beyond the Protests: SPD Chief Ben Raymond

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – It was a call to action across the globe immediately following the death of George Floyd. For many what happened in Minneapolis reopened a problem that hits close to home.

“We heard the name Marquise Hudspeth. We heard the name Anthony Childs. We’ve heard the name recently Tommie McGlothen. Those names are being chanted right alongside George Floyd, so what that tells me in some portion of the community those are still issues that have not been settled.”

Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond has attended some of the protests in the city and he says he’s been listening.

“So if I have enough citizens telling me that they need to see change that’s indication to me there needs to be change.”

According to him there will be changes made in direct response to what happened to Floyd.

“They want to see in our policy that you can not put a choke hold or a stranglehold or anyway restrict airflow to a person you’re trying to arrest, so we’re going to put that specific verbiage in our use of force policy and I think that’s one perfect example of us listening to the citizens.

Officers can also expect mental health training specifically related to the death of Tommie McGlothen.

They’ll learn how to recognize the symptoms and respond appropriately to excited delirium.
Defensive tactics will also be addressed, focusing on what not to do.

“I can’t just show you a defensive tactics move four hours a year and expect you to be proficient. So we just need to make sure our officers completely understand the defensive tactics. Completely understand these techniques that are being taught so they’re not conducted improperly.”

Raymond wants to continue the conversations by adding a unique approach to town hall meetings.

“It’s difficult to talk about local issues because there are so many laws and policies and procedures that prevent you from talking about them when they’re current. Let’s talk about national issues. Let’s talk about George Floyd.”

They would address how SPD would handle the case and give a timeline and explanation on disciplining officers.

“That’s going to help answer questions when we have a Tommie McGlothen incident so people can understand we may not talk specifically about Tommie McGlothen, but I understand the process because we discussed what happened in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago.”

Raymond says there’s now a heightened need for body cameras and they’re looking at various funding sources.

“At least one of the officers involved in the recent incident said I wish that we had a body camera. I sure wish I had a body camera because they want their version of events to be told on that body camera.”

Right now SPD has 70 operational body cameras and they want 400. That comes with a nearly $3 million price tag.

“Policing in 2020 is different than policing in 2000. Different than policing in 1980 and we understand that and we’re trying to do a better job of improving and meeting the demands of our citizens.”

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