Wednesday, 27 September 2017 19:25

Leading New Orleans Mayor Candidates talk police manpower, consent decree Featured

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mayor crime candidatesFor many people, the New Orleans crime problem has been and is, the greatest challenge for the city, particularly for the next Mayor of the city who will be replacing the current city chief executive, Mitch Landrieu.  The prominence of the issue gets even more apparent as the voters face the New Orleans election and the New Orleans Mayor’s race.

 

WYES TV, the public television network, has asked the candidates for Mayor of the City of New Orleans, questions about crime and other prominent issues being discussed this election season. While Bayoubuzz believes all candidates’s responses are worthy and encourage our readers to take a look at the videos of the candidates for office on their Election 2017 website,, we are focused upon the responses by the candidates which, by polling and resources appear to have the best chance of becoming mayor.

In this article, the question posed by by WYES as posted on their website, is:

What is your plan to increase New Orleans Police manpower and how will you produce a different result than the current adminstration?  And what has been the impact of the consent decree on policing?

Again, please look at the WYES website to watch the videos.  

We have transcribed the videos and present the text responses below to the answer to the questions related to this issue.  

We recognize there might be a possible transcription error, so, the video is the most accurate source, but we feel confident in the overall accuracy of the transcriptions below:

BAGNERIS

We're going to increase police manpower, by first of all, give across-the-board $10,000 raise to each police officer. We firmly believe that that's going to help not only with recruitment but it's going to help with retention as well.  We ought to pay our police officers as if our lives depended upon it because they do. We're going to ensure that the recruitment aspect takes place not so much as it has in the past which I think which has been a problem but we're going to bring in experts from the private sector to do the recruiting for the for the police department.  They're going to do a social media campaign, a branding campaign, to really attract the type of police individuals who are interested in having a good good life in New Orleans and that's what we're that's what we're going to do and that's why we're going to be more successful now.

The the consent decree has put a few handcuffs on the on a recruitment aspect but what we're going to do within that consent decree is have two classes with the optimum number being 30 for each class.  But we'll do that for six months.  The first part of the year, in six months, the second part of the year so we could actually have four classes in any given year that the consent decree limits do to two but it leaves you to two per six months, so we could have four classes which will allow us to get on any given year –420, I'm sorry, 120 police officers and we're going to reduce the number of officers that have been retiring early retirement, by virtue of the, by virtue of the retention program that we're having and the recruitment program that I described earlier

CANTRELL

to increase the New Orleans Police Department manpower I really plan to focus very heavily on recruitment efforts ensuring that we have proper leadership in place, with proper oversight given, that we will expand and really exceed the 2.6% currently, after we get thousands of applications, 2.6% of them actually go into the vetting process but about 2%  actually end up in the academy. It sounds easy but it is a very difficult process, so, to ensure that we do a wide and a cross section of recruitment, not just locally but of course nationally, but to yield a  greater, to yield greater results as it relates to it. it starts with the overall leadership of the department.  And I would look to conduct a national as well as a local search to ensure that we have effective leadership in place that will build morale within the rank, strengthen the health of the organization,  which will put New Orleans  on a greater path  of increasing the Manpower   that we have within the police department.  In regards to the consent decree--the consent decree has made significant impact as it relates to policies that are in place in ensuring that we have a constitutional approach to arrest as well as apprehending those who break the law.  However it has not stopped the violent crime within the City of New Orleans. I would like to revisit the consent decree that will allow us to expand the scope of class sizes that we are currently permitted to have

CHARBONNET

My plan to increase police presence and the numbers is to aggressively recruit.  I've set a goal of 80 to 100 new officers every year.  I've been told that that's that's a little high, it's a high mark to reach, however, I think the citizens should expect me to have high goals for them.  So I'm looking at 80 to 100.  I do realize that requires a lot of applicants but it's a goal I'm gonna shoot for.  You asked about the "how would I do it differently" well I'm gonna have  a nationwide search for a police chief.  The chief that I hire is going to have to commit to me that they can reduce violent crime by 50 percent and have a proven record of reducing violent crime.  You know back in the 90s when crime was really bad Mayor Morial reached out to Pennington and we got him from Washington DC he committed to reducing violent crime by 50 percent and he did it, so I do believe that it can be done again.  You also asked about the consent decree--the the consent decree from everything I can tell was neccessary.  It has brought in some reforms that are very helpful to to the citizens and the police department.  From what I hear from officers is that it does require a lot more paperwork, there's a lot more i's to dot and T's to cross, but if it benefits the public at large, that's a good thing. I believe we're close to being in conformity with it so i'm anxious to get from under that decree so we can use the money that is being spent on it more wisely and put it into the department. So the Office of Police Secondary employment has become a challenge for officers to have details--I'm going to take a look at that as well

HENRY

Well, the police department and public safety has a number of major challenges associated with it.  We have some fundamental issues with response times, with customer efficiency, I mean customer courtesy, and overall crime deterrence. So, my plan is first, prior to taking office during the transition period, i will do a root cost analysis to understand what the issues are, then select a leadership team based upon that.  But to put immediate boots on the ground, we're going to do a couple of things: one, we're going to form a strategic alliance with any and every state certified organization that we can to put additional people on the ground in our neighborhoods today.  You know, i was talking to a young lady who had gotten her home burglarized in New Orleans East a few weeks ago and it took 36 hours for the police to respond to that.  It's just unacceptable.

One of my businesses was robbed during a Saints game. and we've got a voicemail--those are an unacceptable element of the police department   . what I'll do is we'll have more State Certified   individuals, secondly we'll put immediate community policing In-place - - and what does that mean? Every single individual in the police department will be required to do at least one patrol a week. That includes the chief of police, my chief of police. so we'll have more physical police presence in the neighborhoods to help augment the short staffing today. Next thing we'll do, we'll also fix the consent order associated with secondary or what we call Moonlighting, police Moonlighting on the police ability to do paid details.  And today it's been a major reason why officers have left the police department is because we mess with their money.  They can no longer make the outside money that used to be able to make now they have to go into a pool instead of working the arrangements out with the business owner. So what it has done is deter those officers of making the money they could make. So many of them spoke with their feet and left.

When I ran for office 8 years ago we had 1460 offices, today we have 1060. So now we have a third less officers even though the budget has gone up by one third.  So my plan is to one, put more officers immediately on the ground, 2 - - bring some of those officers back and offer an amnesty type program for those officers that left, to give them an ability to come back oh, now that we have corrected the paid detail policies. And the third thing will do - - will have almost like an FBI 10 most wanted list--we'll actually have individuals that if they're reeking havoc and we know that there are people that we do not want in our city, we're going to make life extremely difficult for them, we're going to go after them and we're going to make it extremely difficult for their families as well. If they are going to wreak havoc and if they're going to prey on our citizens oh, we're going to come at them even tougher and harder

Whose answer do you most agree with? Michael Bagneris, Desiree Charbonnet, LaToya Cantrell or Troy Henry?  Tell us below

 

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