NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – In light of recent police shootings and a spate of violence against police officers, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison wants New Orleans residents to know how his officers are trained to handle police stops.
Harrison, in a new video on NOPD’s YouTube page, calls police-civilian relations “the most important topic in America today.”
He answers the widely panned question: What should you do when you’re stopped by police?
“We are transforming our department, and there are many new procedures we’re utilizing,” Harrison says in the video. “Things differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. We want to be clear about what you can expect from the New Orleans Police Department.”
Harrison says police officers only stop people – whether in vehicles or pedestrians – under “reasonable suspicion,” meaning the officers suspects a crime was committed, a crime is being committed, or a crime is about to be committed.
Harrison stresses the importance of keeping your hands where the police officer can see them, because officers want to prevent “injury to ourselves, injury to you and injury to other people.”
He says officers are equipped with body cams and dashboard cameras, and the Tasers used by NOPD officers have video and audio recording capabilities.
You have the right to know why you’re being stopped, Harrison says, and you should always answer the officers’ questions honestly. Officers, he said, have the right to pat you down during a pedestrian stop.