The New Orleans City Council recently adopted a resolution in support of the creation of a public-facing database by the Independent Police Monitor (IPM) to increase community engagement, ensure timely data collection and provide heightened transparency of local law enforcement encounters to create additional accountability.
Currently, after five years, officer disciplinary files are lost and no longer accessible to the public.
The creation of this new database would ensure vital access to information regarding officer performance to the local community, court system, New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), government, journalists and advocacy organizations alike.
Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson says the database will help increase community trust and transparency.
“I want to express my thanks to all of the Council for bringing this critical resolution to this chamber,” Hutson said. “Over the years, the OIPM has achieved independence in its structure and funding from the voters of our city. And, through its working relationship with the command staff of the NOPD, we have achieved a large measure of access to the data that should be made public. However, to complete that access and ensure the timely release of detailed information to the community, the last issue to be rectified for our office is codifying and ensuring that our far-reaching access continues in perpetuity. That is why this resolution is so critical.”
In response to recent incidents across the country, the database would also provide critical information on use of force, such as sustained allegations of force against civilians, policy violations by the accused officers, the dates of occurrences and review board hearings, the level and type of force used and any equipment, training and tactics related to the use of force.
“This public-facing database is urgently needed and fits squarely with the accountability and transparency measures the Council has ushered in over the last two terms. In many instances, it is residents and community members are who help us to tell those real stories behind the numbers we make available,” said Councilman Jason Williams. “It is vitally important that citizens are able to participate in this broken system to fix it to hold law enforcement accountable. The IPM has been the necessary watchdog and has been a strong partner alongside city leadership in creating lasting reforms.