ow is the time for action. It is time for America to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.
We acknowledge that black lives matter by instituting reforms that value black lives. Demonstrations are important. Before I was a Mayor, I was a soldier who fought for our First Amendment rights. I was also a demonstrator in Ferguson and Baton Rouge, exercising my First Amendment rights. I applaud Shreveport's organizers who have passionately and peacefully fought for justice and reform. We honor their efforts and the memory of those who have died as a result of police violence by implementing changes that make policing safer.
I am issuing an executive order that bans the use of strangle and chokeholds, which are lethal techniques that restrict breathing. We have also revised the Shreveport Police Department’s use of force policy and asked the Shreveport Race Commission to review the amended use of force policy, visit SPD's training academy, and provide feedback to myself and Chief Ben Raymond.
The amended use of force policy includes changes to the duty to intervene and medical treatment sections. The duty to intervene policy requires officers "to prevent or stop the use of excessive force" by other officers, as well as any use of force that is "contrary to or inconsistent with the training of the Shreveport Police Department." The medical treatment policy requires officers to provide appropriate medical care to anyone who has "visible injuries, complains of being injured, or requests medical attention."
Police officers are guardians, not warriors. They take an oath to serve and protect all of our citizens, and that includes those with mental illness. Shreveport police officers and EMS crews will be receiving more extensive training related to psychiatric conditions. This training will help first responders detect the psychological signs and symptoms earlier, enabling them to better handle those calls and intervene with medical care more quickly.
Finally, we will be providing body cams for all Shreveport police officers. We shouldn't have to rely on cell phone footage from an innocent bystander to determine what happened on the scene and ensure that justice is served. There is some talk about the federal government making funds available to municipalities for body cameras. We will continue to explore that option, but we are also working with various foundations and other private donors to identify the funds needed to take this crucial step toward modernizing our police force.
We have launched a website for citizens to track the progress we are making together, WeHearYouShreveport.com. This website includes each of the initiatives above, and it will be updated with each new effort. The site also provides information related to the Shreveport Police Department's policies and training, as well as an option for citizens to voice their concerns.
Public safety is my top priority. Demonstrators are telling us that the public does not feel safe. We have to continue to address crime, but we also have to address police violence, which too often leaves those most in need of law enforcement's services and protection fearing the police. This is unacceptable. My administration will work to effectuate meaningful change to policing in Shreveport.