Workforce Crisis and Consent Decree Bureaucracy Put Response Officers at Risk, PANO Says
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The New Orleans Police Association (PANO) is sounding the alarm over a manpower shortage it says is putting officers at risk.
Viral videos over the weekend have outraged the public and prompted NOPD leader Shaun Ferguson to promise a crackdown on people performing dangerous and illegal stunts on city streets.
PANO wonders if the department has enough staff to respond appropriately.
“It was obvious that they were armed and wanted to do dangerous things around a police car. It shows that they are not afraid of the consequences,” said Michael Glasser, head of the Police Association of New Orleans.
A New Orleans police officer ventured into a crowd on St. Claude Avenue, prompting a response that could have put his life in danger.
“Not only are we in danger, but the public is in danger. If we can’t protect ourselves, how can we protect them? Glasser said.
Glasser says that on any given shift, there may be as few as three or four officers responding to calls in a district. On Sunday, Ferguson said there were four different scenes of illegal “pop-up” car shows across the city.
Glasser partly blames the bureaucracy surrounding the consent decree for a problem with police attrition that results in an officer leaving the force every two days on average.
What is the decree of consent?
- In May 2010, at the invitation of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the United States Department of Justice began investigating an alleged pattern of civil rights violations and other misconduct by the NOPD.
- In March 2011, the DOJ issued a written report alleging unconstitutional conduct by the NOPD and expressing concerns about various NOPD policies and procedures.
- In July 2012, the city, NOPD, and DOJ signed the most expansive consent decree in the nation, which regulates the use of force, response to violence, community policing, training, transparency, compliance and audits.
“[The consent decree] takes time and energy away from the crime itself,” Glasser said.
A study by the Axios website found that there had been a significant increase in crime in several cities, including Los Angeles, New Orleans and Cleveland, in the two years after the edicts were put in place. consent.
LSU health care criminologist Peter Scharf said while violent crime may have increased, murders have actually decreased.
“I don’t see consent decrees as one of the top five factors. Attrition, workforce, changing city demographics and drug trafficking all outweigh the consent decree,” Scharf said.
The NOPD has received a lot of positive attention for the reforms under the consent decree, but Glasser says no department wants to emulate the labor shortages and rising crime we’re seeing now. here.
“It’s labor-intensive and we don’t have a workforce,” Glasser said.
City Council President Helena Moreno offered a six-point plan to try to attract more officers. That includes asking the federal judge overseeing the consent decree to relax special training restrictions that some say prevent experienced officers from moving to the NOPD.
“If you were a seasoned state police officer and want to work with the New Orleans Police Department, you have to go through the entire NOPD academy,” Moreno said.
The president of PANO would like that to happen, but he is skeptical.
“Can this be mitigated? Sure, but that’s up to the federal judge,” Glasser said.
In a statement, the NOPD says it is working with federal comptrollers to approve a new program for lateral transfers that would include a significantly shorter 10-week academy to provide training on consent decree protocols.
The New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation appeared before the council committee on Tuesday afternoon asking for more resources to recruit officers. The foundation says it has worked actively to drastically reduce the investigation, hiring and background-testing processes in an attempt to bolster police ranks.
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