From a press release

On Thursday, Aug. 2,  Mayor LaToya Cantrell signed in to law the the ordinance passed unanimously by the New Orleans City Council on July 26, giving police officers discretion when determining whether to arrest motorists who are driving with a suspended, revoked or canceled driver’s license.

Mayor Cantrell specifically cited the incident involving former city councilman Oliver Thomas, who was arrested early on June 1 after a traffic accident for unpaid ticket in another jurisdiction.

“Following the incident with former (councilman) Oliver Thomas, Chief Harrison and I agreed that our officers could benefit from a greater degree of discretion that would ultimately free up needed manpower, said Mayor Cantrell. “I thank (Councilwoman) Helena Moreno for taking the lead on the New Orleans City Council to pass this ordinance, which is a step in the right direction. While on its own it cannot effect a change in procedure today, my administration looks forward to working with our state delegation to resolve any potential contradiction with state law — and to seeing this effort through to its conclusion. We all share the goal of helping the NOPD keep its focus on violent crime.”

NOPD Supt. Harrison believes the move will help officers more effective.

“We are always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective when it comes to delivering public services, especially if there’s a better way of doing it,” Supt. Michael Harrison said. “While this is an important first step, we now need support from state lawmakers to clarify state statues that would allow the NOPD to exercise the discretion the City Council has approved.”

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