Murphy Paul — People to Watch 2019

Title: Chief of the East Baton Rouge Police Department
Age: 49
Hometown: New Orleans

In the year since Chief Murphy Paul became head of the East Baton Rouge Police Department, he’s shaped how the department deals with—and understands—crime. He’s seeing results.

The father of five sons has settled into one of Baton Rouge’s biggest leadership roles, bringing contagious charisma, a realistic-but-optimistic outlook and a strategic vision.

He spent his first six months assessing the department’s resources, analytics and intelligence, accountability, training, technology and community engagement.

Now, he’s changing strategies to reduce violent crime and is pushing for more community policing. He’s called for the use of analytical tools to identify the 6% of people who are responsible for the majority of the crime. He’s reassigned officers in administrative roles so that more could be present in the community.

Data shows homicides, on the whole, have been down in Baton Rouge. Before these efforts, more than half the homicides committed in Baton Rouge were unsolved. The number of solved homicides now hovers around the national average—about 60%. While the number of homicides rose to 12 in May, the department solved 70% of these cases.

To create a more transparent police department, he has called for body cameras to be audited and video evidence to be released as soon as possible, especially in high-profile cases. The department also launched an online complaint system.

He has acknowledged the trauma and stress officers experience, launching a new program to let police officers “know that it is safe and it is human to say you need help,” he says.

For Paul, crime is a socioeconomic issue—he says the problem and solution begin at home. This means coming up with interventions that will teach young men conflict resolution and provide solutions to common problems, from offering job opportunities to asking pastors for assistance.

“It’s going to start with our churches and start with our families stepping up,” he says.

And people are. Paul attributes the department’s successes to civilians who are getting involved, calling Crime Stoppers and speaking with detectives.

“We will never stop listening,” he says. “We cannot do it alone.”


Your first job was: Wendy’s

Your personal motto: Your energy introduces you before you speak.

Your spirit animal: Eagle

Something you hope to accomplish in 2019: Help the BRPD get a pay raise and reduce crime.

Click here to read about the rest of our People to Watch in 2019.

This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.