Amid several secret internal BRPD investigations, the department is angry at officers who ‘leak’ information

BATON ROUGE — Baton Rouge police released a terse statement late Tuesday, hours after WBRZ revealed an undercover investigation within the department focused on a cop accused of attempting to sell information on a drug case to a drug dealer.

WBRZ first reported on the investigation earlier Tuesday. On Tuesday night, Baton Rouge police released a general statement to news organizations outlining a series of internal police-focused investigations and possible wrongdoing. The department also chastised whistleblowers: “Leakage of secure information within the department directly undermines the public trust and the Baton Rouge Police Department takes seriously all allegations that go to against public trust. So, despite numerous attempts to interfere with recent investigations, we will continue to aggressively pursue the truth the public deserves.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul has taken a position that information provided to reporters about the department without departmental approval is done for the purpose of interfering with and undermining the agency.

In the statement, police confirmed the ongoing investigation into a uniformed patrolman who worked overtime in the counter-narcotics unit. The officer “may have disclosed sensitive information related to an ongoing investigation,” police said. Sources told WBRZ that the officer tried to sell information about the case. WBRZ has made the editorial decision not to release the officer’s name until the officer is disciplined, fired, or arrested.

“Once investigations are complete, appropriate action will be taken in accordance with Louisiana law and BRPD policy,” police said Tuesday of the case against the officer.

The department also revealed that a former police officer was being investigated for “two incidents of alleged police misconduct”. The agency said the officer, who has not been named, was placed on leave as an internal and criminal investigation was launched, but the officer “abruptly retired days after learning of these investigations. “. Although the officer has left the police department, the cases are still ongoing.

Police said amid the media scrutiny there was also a new, fourth investigation — launched “just this week,” the department proclaimed Tuesday evening — dealing with what the department called a “ potential breach in the ranks”.

When asked for clarification on the latest investigation, a spokesperson said “the department does not comment on open administrative matters.”

The police department said that in all investigations involving its officers, it will notify the Law Enforcement Board of any changes in an officer’s employment and in cases related to misconduct, “will request a review of revocation” of the person’s law enforcement certification.

Baton Rouge police said taking a strong stand against corruption and attempting to undermine an officer’s next job in law enforcement is necessary to “further protect our community and others.”

Read the full Baton Rouge police statement here:

Over the past few weeks, the Baton Rouge Police Department has conducted several criminal and administrative investigations relating to allegations of officer wrongdoing.

The initial investigation began in April this year and involved the theft of several firearms, embezzlement and breaches of public documents. The case ended on June 6, 2022 with the arrest of former BRPD officer Benjamin Zeringue.

A second internal investigation was launched after learning that a current BRPD officer may have leaked sensitive information related to an ongoing investigation. The officer was immediately placed on administrative leave and a criminal investigation was opened. Upon completion of investigations, appropriate action will be taken in accordance with Louisiana law and BRPD policy.

In a separate case, a former BRPD officer is being investigated in relation to two incidents of alleged police misconduct. In accordance with the procedure, this agent was placed on administrative leave and the criminal and internal investigations began. The officer abruptly retired days after learning of these investigations, but the cases are still ongoing. Any action deemed appropriate will follow the conclusion of the investigations.

Additionally, this week alone, the department launched a fourth investigation into another potential breach in the ranks.

The leak of secure information within the department directly undermines the public trust, and the Baton Rouge Police Department takes all allegations that undermine the public trust seriously. So, despite numerous attempts to interfere with recent investigations, we will continue to aggressively pursue the truth the public deserves.

To the Baton Rouge Community: We want the community to know that these few bad actors do NOT reflect the mass of professional, hardworking, and dedicated men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

As stated in the past, our department will hold accountable those who have violated state policy and/or law. We will continue to demonstrate this by arresting agents when there is probable cause and firing those who violate applicable policy. We believe wearing the badge is an honor and will work diligently to protect the integrity of these officers who support the mission of the Baton Rouge Police Department every day.

To further protect our community and others, our office will notify the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement of any separation of employment. Additionally, in misconduct-related cases, we will seek revocation review by the Louisiana Peace Officers Standards and Training Board of that individual’s law enforcement certification. As required by law, these actions and circumstances will also be entered into Louisiana’s Uniform Law Enforcement statewide reporting database.