Kennedy is running for re-election. There have been numerous reports that he is running for US Senate next year to replace David Vitter, should the latter be elected Governor this year.
State Treasurer John Kennedy called today for New Orleans to implement a stop-question-and-frisk program in response to the spiraling crime rate.
"We need to empower our police, not undermine them," said Treasurer Kennedy. "A stop-question-and-frisk policy would help get the thugs, the dope and the guns off our streets."
Stop-question-and-frisk, often called stop and frisk, allows a law enforcement officer to stop, question and pat down potential suspects when the officer has "reasonable suspicion" to believe the suspect has or is about to commit a crime. When done appropriately, stop-question-and-frisk is legal under the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Terry v. Ohio. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pioneered the stop-and-frisk program to address skyrocketing crime rates. The program took 8,000 guns off the street in over a decade.
"We've got to stop handcuffing the police," said Treasurer Kennedy. "We've got to take a proactive approach. Thugs will continue to carry their guns unless they're afraid to carry them. Stop-question-and-frisk will make them think twice about hitting the streets with a gun."
Both the U.S. Constitution and the Louisiana Constitution allow police officers to stop and frisk a person without probable cause to arrest if there is reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime and has a weapon. Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard that is based on specific and articulable facts as well as rational emphasis from those facts.
"Like any civil libertarian, I'm wary of governmental power and overreach," said Treasurer Kennedy. "However, I have confidence in the New Orleans Police Department. The NOPD is one of the most diverse police departments in this country. I don't think it would engage in some massive conspiracy to deny people, including people of color, their constitutional rights. We've got to do something."
According to National Public Radio, New Orleans' murder rate is quadruple the rates in cities of a similar size. Los Angeles and Chicago have lower murder rates than New Orleans. This summer, a 4-year-old child was the victim of gunfire in New Orleans.
"Stop-and-frisk reduces crime and keeps people safer," said Treasurer Kennedy. "Stop-and-frisk gets guns off the street and prevents murders. Stop-and-frisk saves lives."