Story Summary

NOPD & OPP Consent Decrees

Department of Justice – Eastern-District-of-LAThe Department of Justice says that, based on the amount of crime in New Orleans (particularly crime involving NOPD officers as perpetrators), the NOPD cannot maintain law and order in the city.

In order to protect the residents of New Orleans, the City and the NOPD agreed to “fundamentally change the way it polices throughout the New Orleans Community.” (1)

The City of New Orleans, which funds the NOPD, has attempted to stop the Consent Decree, saying it will cost too much to fund a Consent Decree Monitor (a person to oversee the changes to the NOPD) in addition to the cost of the changes to the Department.

The DoJ has drafted a similar Consent Decree dealing with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Orleans Parish Prison.

A collection of the legal documents involving the NOPD Consent Decree can be found here: http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/Consent/consent.htm

(1) Proposed Consent Decree

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 4 updates

Last summer, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announced a partnership of sorts – a consent decree – allowing the federal government to essentially take over the New Orleans Police Department and implement major reforms.  Now Mayor Landrieu wants to nix the deal.

The mayor claims the Feds were insincere and now wants nothing to do with the agreement.  A federal judge disagreed.  Landrieu has argued the city is too broke to pay for all of the reforms, especially those planned for the Orleans Parish Prison.

The mayor better fire some of those six-figure salaried deputy mayors or maybe cut back on some of the over $150 million planned for the new hospital in New Orleans East.  Either way, the city is on the tab for around $80 million in consent decree reforms over the next few years and I don’t think Landrieu is going to be able to get out of this one.

The mayor says the city is now financially “headed for a cliff” and he “doesn’t want to catch anyone in the city by surprise”.  Well, we are surprised.  The needed reforms to the police department and the jail are clear.   How the city plans to pay for those reforms is anyone’s guess.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the United States Department of Justice has a gun to the head of the city over a pair of consent decrees.

One of the consent decrees aims to improve practices at the NOPD; the other will help the city’s jail.  Both plans were expected to cost some money to implement.  But Landrieu says the DOJ pulled a fast one and convinced a federal judge to sign the consent decree for the jail that includes millions of dollars in unplanned and unbudgeted money.

Landrieu says requiring the city to pay for the jails consent decree will require either a significant hike in taxes or a similarly drastic cut in city services.  He also says, if the city is forced to pay for the plan, it could hinder the city’s ability to pay for the police consent decree, which is the greater priority for the mayor.

“I am not going to consent to write a blank check to the Justice Department, to the Sheriff, or to anybody else, and I’m not happy with the situation.  I want to think about it over the weekend and have more comments about it next week,” Landrieu said on Friday.

A new jail and support facilities are already under construction.

Landrieu says he will ask lawyers for the city to look at possible legal options.

GUSMAN

Fresh from announcing a federal consent decree addressing reforms and changes surrounding the operation of the Orleans Parish Jail, Sheriff Marlin Gusman says the agreement will help build the public’s confidence in how the jail is run.  But Gusman says the consent decree will not solve all problems with keeping people locked up.

“By its nature, a jail is a difficult place,” Gusman said from his office Thursday afternoon.

Gusman and his department have taken heat this year regarding escapees, violence among inmates, and an ankle bracelet monitoring system that’s connected to at least one high-profile crime spree.

Gusman defends the bracelet program saying less than three or four percent of inmates participating in the program cause problems.  He also says two high-profile reports regarding sexual assaults in the jail are flat-out false.  And he says, while most of the people in the New Orleans area have recovered from Hurricane Katrina, his deputies are still using temporary tents for jail space and other makeshift facilities to do their jobs, most of which are done behind the scenes and out of the public eye.

“Therefore, the public really doesn’t get a chance to see what we do unless something bad happens,” Gusman said.

Gusman also touts his department’s rehabilitation programs that help prepare inmates to return to a free life.  He says almost all of them, at some point, will be released, so they need to have skills that will help them stay out of jail and have productive lives.

“We’re not trying to make it (jail) a bad place.  We’re trying to make it a place where you can still have dignity and respect.”

A new jail and kitchen facility are under construction.  All should be in use by early 2014.  But Gusman says the sheriff’s office still has a serious problem with keeping its staff.  Gusman says his deputies’ starting salaries are around $21,000 a year.  He says he’s spending good money to train people who leave the sheriff’s office for higher paying jobs with other departments.

Gusman says he needs funding for about 100 more deputies, and he needs their starting salaries to be in the $27,000 range.

“You can’t have a great facility and not have well-trained people to manage and run it,” he explained.

News with a Twist
12/11/12

The Epic Failure Of New Orleans, The NOPD and Mayor Landrieu

The Mike Church dictionary defines “Epic Fail” as “an unsuccessful attempt to successfully execute a task requested because of ones station in life”. Using this definition we can conclude that when it comes to the New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish Prison, mayor Mitch Landrieu is an epic failure. That the mayor has actually asked for and now received 1 the guidance and help of the most famous institution of Epic Failures in world history -the U.S. Federal Government- tells you everything you need to know about the state of the City of New Orleans.

Do the Landrieu administration and Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman really believe that the same entity that perfected waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually have the moral authority to improve the mental conditions at the prison?

Why would anyone think that the NOPD would benefit from financial and organizational advice gleaned from personnel who cannot distinguish between a Hubigs Fried Pie and a $40 bran muffin and if they could, would opt for the latter because it keeps their funding levels up!?

Fact: The City of New Orleans pre-dates the American Revolution and was a republic like entity since its inception.

Fact: The Police Department of New Orleans was created to protect the citizens of that Orleans Territory BY the City of New Orleans in 17962.

Fact: The Orleans Territory was admitted in the union in April of 1812 as a sovereign state3.

Fact: The NOPD & It’s prison therefore are the responsibility of the citizens of New Orleans.

Our final fun fact is this: citizens elect executives, like Mayor Landrieu, to manage essential, local services like police and prisons, this is why the city has borders. If Landrieu & Company cannot discharge that duty and must surrender essential services to the management of Leviathan then maybe the mayor should be appointed by Congress, a prospect that promises an even more expensive & corrupt Epic Failure.

1 http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/12/federal_consent_decree_for_orl.html#incart_river_default

2 http://nopdhistory.com/
(From NOPD website) The first mention of a New Orleans Police Department being formed was in 1796. In 2011, The New Orleans Police Department turned 215 years old.

3 http://www.louisianabicentennial2012.com/page.php?page=Louisiana-Statehood-History
On April 30, 1812, the United States admitted Louisiana as the 18th state into the Union.

Advertisement