NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Federal Judge Susie Morgan has decided that New Orleans’ Consent Degree, which sets the rules on what the NOPD can and cannot do, will remain in place after a push from Mayor LaToya Cantrell and city officials to have it lifted.
Currently, the NOPD has been marked as compliant in 15 of the 17 areas in the document, which sets the standards for police operations like interrogations, arrests, and officer training. However, although the judge acknowledged that the police department has come a long way in the last decade, some of those areas that NOPD was found compliant with have backslid due to a lack of resources.
City council president Helena Moreno says the judge’s call for a reaudit of the decree could mean that the 15 areas the department is listed as compliant with could drop.
“If she wants to re-audit those, she can and we will deal with whatever comes our way,” Moreno told WGNO’s Amy Russo.
A key point Morgan attributes to the backslide in several critical areas is the lack of resources, including a 50-year low in NOPD personnel.
“The judge was spot on with some of the key points that the city council has been talking about for quite some time, particularly when it comes to beefing up the New Orleans Police Department,” Moreno added.
The judge said she hasn’t seen a holistic plan to focus on recruiting and retaining officers, something NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson disagrees with.
“It is unfortunate that the judge feels that way but we have always had a plan,” Ferguson said.
“The chief has said there is a plan from 2019, but I’d say where is the plan from 2022?” added Moreno.
Ferguson says that despite the ruling, his department will continue pressing forward.
“We have to really look at policing today versus yesterday.”
The judge plans to hold another public meeting in September, however that date has not yet been set. Read more about the NOPD’s Consent Decree in the reader below.
FULL DOCUMENT: NOPD Consent Decree