NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — New Orleans Police Department Interim Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick passed the City Council Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday with a 6-1 vote.
Councilman Eugene Green voted against it because of logistics with the process.
Kirkpatrick presented the council with a six-point plan including recruitment and retention, deployment, organizational restructuring, consent decree compliance, crime fighting strategy and civilianization and community engagement.
Recruitment and Retention
Kirkpatrick’s plan for recruitment and retention includes shortening the recruitment process to under three months, which the department has already started doing. She said younger generations do not want to wait long to secure a job.
She also said she wants to focus on recruiting locally and intentionally by setting up more job fairs in strategic locations. As part of the academy process, Kirkpatrick would pair recruits with community leaders to help them understand New Orleans culture and offer a mentorship.
The council said they would like to see more Black officers in the recruiting classes, which Councilman Freddie King thinks could be done by recruiting at HBCUs.
In her efforts to retain officers, Kirkpatrick said she would toy with flexible schedules, offering officers the choice between an eight- or 12-hour shift. She would also experiment with job sharing, where two part-time officers fill one shift.
Kirkpatrick believed if she could offer incentives like daycare, housing support and education reimbursement, officers would stick around longer.
“We’ve got to live with the reality we’re a 900-officer department, not a 1,200-officer department,” Kirkpatrick said.
Deployment within the NOPD used to be done by population. Kirkpatrick’s plan would redeploy officers based on call volume and severity. She also wanted to hire an outside consultant to offer a new perspective on effective deployment.
Kirkpatrick told the council she is a big fan of former Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork. She said, “I understand why people like her. I like her.” Kirkpatrick offered Woodfork a spot on her executive team and, if confirmed, would explore the opportunity with the council to give Woodfork a higher rank.
As for the rest of the department, she said she would evaluate over 90 days to determine the best course of action.
Consent Decree Compliance
Kirkpatrick met with federal monitors and Judge Susie Morgan to discuss how the group can collaborate regarding the consent decree.
When Kirkpatrick was in Oakland, the police department became less compliant with their consent decree. She said that was because she was spending more time focusing on morale and other things that made officers want to stick around instead of checking a box with the consent decree.
If confirmed, Kirkpatrick claimed she would take a collaborative approach to determine the best way to end the consent decree once the department is compliant. She believes that means transforming the department instead of trying to force changes. Kirkpatrick said she is open to public meetings as well.
During public comments, many New Orleanians expressed their opinions on the need to keep the consent decree.
Crime Fighting Strategy
Kirkpatrick told the council that public safety, to her, goes hand-in-hand with public health. She would continue Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s violent crimes task force and try to make New Orleans a Crime Gun Intelligence Center with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Currently, the NOPD is not allowed to chase. Kirkpatrick said she would hope to implement technology like drones and GPS tracking StarChase to help solve the problem of stolen cars without the NOPD’s ability to chase.
Tiered policing was another idea to better fight crime. That would mean not just civilians but limited commission officers and full commission officers.
Civilianization and Community Engagement
Kirkpatrick stated she was a fan of the NOPD’s push to bring civilians into the department. According to her plans, she’s searching for new opportunities for civilians that fall in line with the consent decree.
To expand community engagement, Kirkpatrick said she would implement cadet programs and have district captains meet regularly with council members.
Kirkpatrick said she is already a member of a New Orleans church but hopes to introduce herself to other religious leaders soon.
The full council will vote on Thursday, Oct. 19, to decide if Kirkpatrick will get the permanent superintendent position.
Kirkpatrick released a statement expressing her gratitude for the council’s engagement during the hearing.
“I would like to thank the New Orleans City Council’s Governmental Affairs Committee for engaging in a very candid and constructive discussion at today’s confirmation hearing. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my qualifications, experience and ideas for leading the New Orleans Police Department and moving the Department forward, building on the progress that has been made in creating a safer city for the citizens of New Orleans. I believe there was a great exchange of ideas today and I look forward to continuing to work with the City Council in the future should I be confirmed.
I am deeply appreciative of the public’s active participation, input and thoughtful comments. Your voice matters and I want to assure you that if I am confirmed as Superintendent, I am committed to listening to and addressing the concerns of the community.
I also want to thank Mayor LaToya Cantrell for nominating me and believing in my ability to serve this city as the Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department.”NOPD Interim Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick
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