Baton Rouge, LA – The Louisiana State Police (LSP) have launched an investigation into accusations of hazing at their police academy after 10 cadets required medical treatment after training the week of Oct. 7.
Louisiana State Police Colonel Kevin Reeves told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that the state police Internal Affairs unit was investigating the allegations and three troopers had already been transferred out of Training.
“There is an administrative investigation going on right now and we’re still gathering facts in that investigation,” Col. Reeves said.
“What I can tell you is that last week, Cadet Class 99 was participating in a block of defensive tactics training in the Louisiana State Police Academy. It appears that some of the training may have extended outside of our normal parameters,” he said.
Sources told WAFB that the alleged hazing began after a female cadet in LSP Cadet Class 99 broke the rules and was caught with a cell phone in her possession during training.
Some of the training troopers allegedly forced all of the cadets to participate in physically abusing other cadets as punishment.
But Col. Reeves indicated to reporters that the cadet caught with the cell phone was a separate incident that involved cheating during testing, and said that cadet and another cadet had been “separated” from the academy as result.
WAFB reported that their source said Training troopers engaged in sleep deprivation torture of the cadet class over a period of three consecutive nights.
“The cadets were kept in one room with the lights on and the air conditioning turned as low as it would go,” the source said. “Every hour, someone would walk in and order all the cadets to stand up and walk around the room.”
Punishments also included forcing cadets to hit each other with items such as training pads and other gear, and forcing them to swim long distances while wearing clothing, the source told WAFB.
Ten cadets had to seek medical treatment after the training.
The source told WAFB that injuries to cadets included cuts, bruises, a fractured arm, and a broken nose.
Families of the cadets were outraged at the physical conditions of their loved ones after the week of “defensive tactics training” and contacted the state police administration, as well as the media, with pictures of their injured cadets.
Col. Reeves told reporters that the cadets had been engaged in “defensive tactics training” all week and that cuts and bruises, at the very least, were to be expected.
He also said that after the extent of the injuries was brought to his attention on Friday evening, the state police began investigating on Saturday and “conducted an inquiry in an attempt to vet the information.”
The colonel told reporters that a full Internal Affairs administrative investigation was launched as a result of that inquiry.
He also said that training was suspended for the day on Sunday, and the remainder of defensive tactics training had been postponed.
Col. Reeves told reporters that the first personnel transfer took place on Monday morning, and two additional troopers were transferred out of Training on Tuesday.
He refused, however, to provide the names of the transferred troopers or details about why they had each been moved out of the state police training program.
“The welfare of our cadets is paramount to me. And I commit, as an agency, to determine what went on last week and to put measures in place to make sure the academy goes on without incident” so that the cadet class would graduate as planned and prepared to be state troopers, Col. Reeves said.
He stopped short of confirming that any hazing had occurred at the LSP Academy.
“I think ‘hazing’ would be a strong word here to put a label on that,” the colonel said, and reiterated that injuries were not uncommon during that particular block of training.
Col. Reeves said that training as physical training to teach troopers how to save their own lives and not overly injure their suspects at the same time.
He promised that Internal Affairs was looking into “the significance” of the injuries that had recently been reported.
Col. Reeves said that nobody had been fired as a result of the investigation, and there was no criminal investigation into the incident.
He also said he trusted the state police to conduct a fair investigation and that he didn’t plan to ask an outside agency to conduct an investigation of the goings on at the LSP academy.