SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Police reform isn’t anything new to Mayor Adrian Perkins. He says he was in Ferguson and Baton Rouge following police involved shootings there. Now Perkins is working on policy changes in Shreveport, sparked by the deaths of George Floyd and others.
“I have been at the demonstrations. I’ve heard the voices of the people of Shreveport and the things that they want.”
Mayor Perkins says he is responding right now to their calls for change.
“We’re working as quickly as we can on the local level.”
During a phone interview Perkins explained that already this week the Shreveport Police Department held implicit bias training. The goal is to improve deescalation tactics and mental health measures.
An executive order banning choke holds also went into effect last week. He believes the ban will prevent situations like what happened in Minneapolis with George Floyd.
“When you hear the people, all the people in Shreveport calling for change that’s what really prompted us to start a website, so we can track the progress we were making and keep our citizens abreast and let them know, hey we’re making progress here but we need to push further on other fronts.”
The city launched the We Hear You, Shreveport website to serve as an accountability measure for any police reform. It will track progress, include policy changes, executive orders and documents. There’s also a status bar for each initiative.
“A lot of people want a lot of things right now and local government can only do so much, so when I’m telling people we can do this together I’m not just saying that rhetorically. It really takes all of us, local government and the people of Shreveport.
People from the community have been added to the conversation with the Race Commission. The group will review the police department along with training and make recommendations to the mayor and police chief.
“We’re going to go as far as the people want us to go, but there’s also if we want a more comprehensive change not just police reform and other things we’re hearing at these protests then we’re going to have to talk to different government entities as well and hold them accountable as well.”
Perkins says it is going to take a collaborative effort between state lawmakers and federal officials.