‘I Think the Public is in Jeopardy,’ PANO Attorney Fears NOLA Residents Are Not Safe

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The last few days have been violent in New Orleans. Roughly two dozen people shot, and at least five of them killed. To top it off a new Office of Inspector General report now says the NOPD does not have enough patrols available to respond immediately.

WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano asks Police Association Of New Orleans (PANO) attorney Eric Hessler if there are enough men and women available to keep residents in New Orleans safe. Hessler says, “I don’t believe we do and the proof, you only have to look back over the course of a couple of days to find the proof of that.”

Police Association of New Orleans Attorney Eric Hessler agrees the NOPD is understaffed, but he doesn’t see eye to eye with the recommendations New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux lays out. Quatrevaux suggests hiring new cops is not the answer, reassigning them is.

“We need to hire officers every year just like a football team so that we have young people replacing people who leave through attrition, but we do not need to hire an extra 300 police officers to do the work,” says Quatrevaux.

Hessler says, “There are some problems, but it’s beyond what is the very narrow focus of this report. It’s well beyond that.”

Hessler says the NOPD must focus on recruits and retention, citing every two and a half days the NOPD loses an officer. Hessler says so far this year close to 60 have left. It’s a problem he says has left districts shorthanded.

The Office of Inspector General says of the 1100 officers on the force only 21% are assigned to respond to calls; that’s roughly 250 cops. The report shows that when you break it down over three shifts at 8 Districts at times as few as three officers may be available to respond.

To Hessler they are unsurprising, yet troubling results.

“Of course I think the public is in jeopardy,” says attorney Eric Hessler.