The Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police represents 1,145 active police officers on the New Orleans Police Department. The vast majority of those officers were not part of the past or current administration. The vast majority of those officers have never been in trouble. The overwhelming majority of those officers are dedicated, hard-working public servants who are devoted to improving the quality of life in the city of New Orleans. It is easy to paint everyone with a broad brush, but it simply isn’t fair.
These same dedicated public servants have a vested interest in improving the NOPD and its relationship with the community. They also have ideas about how that might be accomplished. The Justice Department may have some ideas about how things should go, but it is obvious that they do not have it all figured out. Recent events have shown that members of the Justice Department are not immune from acting based on prejudice.
The process of reform must be embraced from within. The men and women of the NOPD strive to represent the city of New Orleans positively every day. They would like to be able to contribute to the reform effort.
The days of hyperbole like the “aorta of corruption” need to end. The public deserves to be treated better than to have someone bent on exaggerating the truth and deepening the divide making up sensational accusations in the hope those absurd allegations will be repeated on every television station. All hope is not lost. The New Orleans Police Department does not suffer any problems that are not present in other police departments. Given the proper mandate from the Mayor, the NOPD is perfectly capable of reform. The current leadership has demonstrated a desire to change the culture within the NOPD. While the FOP hasn’t agreed with every one of those decisions, there is no denying that change is afoot.
This consent decree is going to cost the city of New Orleans millions of dollars. These are millions of dollars that this city doesn’t have. Frankly, we should embrace the dedicated offices and their ideas before agreeing to a consent decree that will cost us millions of dollars and only result in changes already being implemented being ordered by a judge.
At the very least the dedicated officers should have a voice in the ongoing negotiations. It should be a voice they recognize. The FOP can provide that voice for them and the citizens of our city.