46 Homicides in 7 months! Warning, Enter at your own risk! Not a very welcoming message to post on a large billboard on the two primary interstate entrances to your city.
This is the message that is posted on two billboards on Interstate 12 and Interstate 10 as you enter Baton Rouge, the capital city of Louisiana, and home of the current college football national champion LSU Tigers. These billboards were purchased by the Baton Rouge Police Union with the hope of getting the message out, crime is out of control in the Crescent City.
Baton Rouge’s local newspaper The Advocate reached out to Baton Rouge Police Union President Brandon Blust who declined to comment on the billboards. However, one person who has spoken out against the billboards is Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome who says the billboards disparage the community and discourage people from visiting the city.
In a statement released on Thursday, the mayor’s office expressed disappointment with the Union saying, “the police union is choosing to thrown stones.”
One must ask however is presenting facts throwing stones? The overall crime rate in Baton Rouge is 141% higher than the national average with a crime rate of 69 per one thousand residents. A Fox News report based on 2018 crime statistics ranked Baton Rouge as the 5thdeadliest city in the US.
This incident is just the latest clash between the Mayor’s office and the Police Union. Several weeks ago Mayor Broome was a guest on a local radio program where she denounced the Police Union as being obstructive in her quest to rid Baton Rouge of “bad cops.” The Police Union responded that Mayor Broome has systematically tied the hands of officers, causing low moral within the department and higher than average turnover.
Mayor Broome is up for reelection this fall. One of the key issues for her campaign has been police reform.
This is the 2nd major billboard campaign by the Police Union in recent months. The last campaign addressed the disparity of pay for Baton Rouge officers vs the national average. Baton Rouge officers earn approximately 30% less than their counterparts. This campaign began only weeks after a domestic violence suspect shot two Baton Rouge officers, killing Lt. Glenn Hutto.