A 25-member task force aimed at studying policing policy reform met Thursday for the first time since being formed by the Legislature in response to the George Floyd protests.

Each member introduced themselves, including NAACP Louisiana President Michael McClanahan who says it’s an honor to participate.

“We are oftentimes fighting for causes but I think there are no more noble causes to fight for then what is outside of these walls, what is right in the streets,” says McClanahan.

The task force has been ordered to review policing policy for all of the state’s 23,000 designated peace officers.

Baton Rouge Senator Cleo Fields was named chairman and the members come from a range of backgrounds, including civil rights activists, lawmakers, and law enforcement.

“When it all boils down at the end of the day every member of the task force will have an opportunity to vote and to debate on every single issue,” says Fields.

Fields authored the resolution that formed the task force and was nominated for the chairmanship by representatives of the law enforcement community.

There was some question today. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James asked Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement representative Rebekah Taylor why law enforcement trainees spend 24 hours training for defensive tactics, but only six hours on biased policing recognition.

“Are you aware of any expert or specialist who says bias recognition, six hours is enough, are there any studies that we can look through to say whether six hours is enough when we are addressing this issue?” asked James. Taylor responded that there were not any studies on the issue that she was aware of, and the six hour total was how much time they needed to meet the curriculum that had been set out in their bias recognition training course.

The members were split into committees and ordered to report back by November 7th, with the full task force ordered to report their findings to the Legislature by February 1st.

(Story written by Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network)

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