Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:18
New Orleans Business Council Donates To Fight Crime
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gun-shadowA influential New Orleans area business group continues its efforts to get down to business regarding crime.

The Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region today announced that it will donate $50,000 to the New OrleansCrime Coalition for an intensive training and intervention effort in community policing that will target five violent areas in the city. The announcement was made by Gregory Rusovich, chairman of the Business Council, and Michael Cowan, chair of the New Orleans Crime Coalition, at a press conference at the Eighth District Police Station in the French Quarter. 
 

Designed to attack crime in five violent areas, or hot spots, the initiative includes collaboration between the NOPD and neighborhood residents and organizations, cooperation among different divisions within the police department, and partnerships with city agencies to address crime and violence in neighborhoods.  

According to Rusovich, “Community policing is cited as the proven best practice nationally for combatting violent crime (Police Education Research Forum, 2009).The Business Council is committed to getting violent criminals off of our streets. We are prepared to dedicate resources to ensure that the NOPD builds on its community policing efforts.  

The community policing initiative is a comprehensive, six month training program, conducted by Dr. George Capowich, Ph.D., for 30 NOPD officers. Capowich, a criminologist teaching at Loyola University and former police officer in Tampa, Florida, is an authority on community policing, having researched, evaluated and consulted on it over the past twenty years.

The intensive community policing effort is based on three objectives which will be achieved through five three-hour training sessions and supervised interventions in five violent hot spots.

Train selected policepersonnel in community based problem solving (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment) and on implementing the model in neighborhoods.

Implement community policing in five hot spot locations selected by officers and neighborhood residents within larger areas designated by NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

Use pre- and post-intervention metrics to assess the effectiveness of community policing interventions as a violence-reduction strategy in New Orleans.

For details about the five training sessions, visit www.bcno.org or refer to accompanying document.

Law Enforcement Personnel

The 30 officers who will undergo training include community coordinating sergeants, and quality of life and crime prevention officers from the city’s eight police districts. For each of the selected hot spots, police-citizen teams will create, implement and evaluate a multi-faceted, customized plan developed based on the principles of community policing. These will look different in different neighborhoods. For example, added street lighting may be a tactic to make one area safer, disposing of abandoned cars may be appropriate for another, changing police patrolling tactics may be required in another.

A Complement to the Mayor’s Program

This intensive community policing intervention is an important initiative that will support the program Mayor Landrieu announced last week to reduce homicides based on a proven model developed in Milwaukee.

According to Cowan, “Community policing has been a priority for Mayor Landrieu since the campaign. One of the criteria used toselect a new NOPD superintendent was a track record of successfully implementing community policing in a major urban areas. Superintendent Serpas moved to implement community policing early in his tenure, beginning with the appointment of a Community Coordinating Sergeant in each of the eight police districts. With the Business Council’s funding, we are initiating the first in-depth training and application of community policing in New Orleans, and we are targeting violent hot spots as we do that. This effort is fully complementary to the murder reduction program the Mayor introduced last week.”   

To ensure coordination among the city’s various crime initiatives, Cowan, as Crime Coalition Chairman, serves on one of theteams for the murder-reduction program and also oversees the training and interventions the Business Council has agreed to fund. 

He adds, “This gives me the opportunity to ensure linkagebetween the two efforts.” 

Furthermore, the Crime Coalition has been working for three years on developing and activating community policing in New Orleans. For the past six months, City department heads have been participating in meetings with community policing officers assigned across the city in order to make the City more responsive to quality of life issues brought to their attention by police officers. Beginning in November, 2011, CAO Andy Kopplin established a Quality of Life Task Force that brings community policing officers and department heads to a monthly meeting to identify problems and create solutions to quality of life issues creating public safety problems in neighborhoods. 

While the specific hot spots are now being identified, they will be located within the French Quarter, St. Roch, the Bywater, the Lower Ninth Ward and Central City. Training will begin on December 12, 2011.

For more information, visit www.bcno.org.

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