New Orlean’s Mayor Wanted to Defund the Police…Now Look at What Civilians Are Asked to Do – Watch
New Orlean’s Democratic Mayor, LaToya Cantrell, may have just cut her nose off to spite her face. The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) has fewer than 950 commissioned officers right now.
Michael Glasser, the president of the Police Association of New Orleans, told “Fox & Friends” last summer that the force was severely lacking in manpower and he attributed the problem to “defunding efforts by city government” and “anti-police sentiment.”
Now, the city is America’s murder capital.
There is a new initiative aimed at bolstering the force and its crime-fighting response, the NOPD will re-deploy officers to the streets who were previously working in administrative, specialty, and detective capacities. And previously rejected applicants are asked to reapply, and the department will be enrolling 50 to 75 civilians in support roles.
Shaun Ferguson, an NOPD superintendent, said that the new civilian employees will monitor phones and online reports, do surveillance of certain events, issue traffic citations, and do investigative work. This could include collecting evidence at crime scenes and responding to thefts.
“As we take calls over the phone, there may be some evidence that needs to be collected with that call. We’ll have civilian investigators to go out and collect that evidence instead of an officer having to go out there,” Ferguson said.
The department also admitted that they will have to gloss over previous applicants’ questionable pasts. That means that people who had drug histories and low credit scores will now be considered.
People will be given pay raises and there will be hiring and retention bonuses, as well as student loan assistance. The city is now advocating for the coverage of all health care costs for officers as well as for bringing back the take-home car policy.
The salary for recruits starts at $40,391 and rises to $56,566 per year. If the candidate has a bachelor’s degree, they can qualify for a higher starting salary. Right now, there are only 12 recruits.
According to the Wall Street Journal, New Orleans has the highest homicide rate of any major city in the country. There are 41 murders per 100,000 resents. That is a 44% increase over last year and a 141% increase over the same period in 2019.
Carjackings are up 210% over 2019, and there have already been 218 committed this year. Armed robberies are up 25%, and shootings are up 100% this year with 343 already reported.
According to Neighborhood Scout, the chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in New Orleans is 1 in 74. The likelihood of becoming a victim of a property crime is 1 in 21.
#MCCCrimeBulletin as of 9.18.22
3 homicides last week (includes juv. killed near elementary school in Pines Village)
YTD Homicide: 208
YTD Shooting: 343
YTD Carjacking: 218
YTD Robbery: 397@WWLTV @wdsu @WGNOtv @FOX8NOLA @FixNOLA @WWLAMFM
— MetroCrimeNOLA (@MetroCrimeNOLA) September 19, 2022
One of the reasons for such violence in the city is the fallout of the pandemic response. There has also been low bail set by judges. Ronal Serpas, a former New Orleans police superintendent, told the Wall Street Journal that the NOPD’s staffing problems have much to do with the “crisis of crime and … crisis of confidence in this city.”
He believes that the force only has 60% of the officers needed to protect the city’s residents. The average response time for a 911 call is 2.5 hours, so “criminals are more bolder and more brazen. … They do not believe they will face any consequences for their actions.”
The New Orleans Crime Coalition released the results of its “Annual NOPD Citizen Perception Study” in June. It stated that only 25% of respondents believe that New Orleans is safe. That is a 10-point drop from 2021. And in 2020, 57% of the residents said that the city was safe.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell assumed office in May of 2018, and she now faces a recall campaign. She issued this statement this week: “I am encouraged by the implementation of these additional patrols, in addition to many other game changing policy and procedural changes that are underway as we continue reimagining policing in New Orleans.”