If the orders issued by U.S. Judge Susie Morgan after Wednesday’s public hearing on the NOPD consent decree are any indication, the New Orleans Police Department will likely not be released from the federal consent decree anytime soon.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell has cited the consent decree as an obstacle that is hampering recruitment and retention and lowering morale at the NOPD. Adding that she believes the decree’s mandates have been met, she has formally petitioned the Department of Justice to end the nearly-decade long order.
While Judge Morgan did not specifically reply to Mayor Cantrell’s petition to lift the consent decree during the Aug. 17 public hearing, she has called for more monitoring, more meetings and more guidance in an effort to help NOPD reach the goals and make the changes outlined in the sweeping document.
“I will encourage the City to explore the use of its emergency contracting powers to expedite as many of the necessary remedial measures as possible, including civilianization, alternative police reporting, and non-police handling of minor traffic accidents,” Morgan wrote in the order.
Another action outlined by Judge Morgan’s court, is plans for a monthly with Judge Morgan, the City’s chief administrative officer and and the City attorney “for the foreseeable future to ensure the City follows through on its plans to direct additional resources to the NOPD and its officers, including proper equipment, professional facilities, functioning IT, and reasonable pay.”
The list of actions taken by the court Wednesday also include orders for:
- The consent decree monitor to assign members of his team to provide technical assistance to the NOPD in the areas of staffing, officer retention, recruiting, public transparency, alternative police response, and burden reduction.
- The monitor to re-audit several critical areas of the CD that have been affected by the lack of NOPD personnel, including the integrity of crime reporting data, the downgrading of calls for service, the impact of response times, the delays in sharing data and reports with the public, and a reduction of innovative and targeted crime fighting.
- The monitoring team to publish its report in early September along with an accounting of what steps the NOPD has taken to implement those recommendations.
- The monitor to participate in City Council efforts to bring multiple stakeholders together — including the City, the Civil Service Commission, and the NOPD — in an effort to work together to help overcome the NOPD’s current challenges.
- The monitoring team to work with the NOPD to reestablish the Burden Reduction Working Groups.
- The monitoring team to schedule a public meeting in September to provide the community and the media a chance to have their questions answered.
- The Court to hold monthly public hearings to ensure the NOPD and the City have a strong plan and are moving forward to implement that plan to resolve the growing problems facing the NOPD.