I am sure that most of you have either read or taken a look at the proposed consent decree for the New Orleans Police Department. If not, it can be found here. It is very long and covers a lot of ground.
It is important to remember that as of today (July 24, 2012), none of what is contained in the proposed consent decree represents the procedures and/or policies of the New Orleans Police Department unless it already exists in the Operations Manual (CALEA Manual), General Orders, Operations Bureau Policies, or other official instruction from the New Orleans Police Department.
First of all, the proposed consent decree has not yet been signed by a judge. Secondly, many of the policy mandates found within the proposed consent decree have time frames for implementation. In short, some of the items found in the proposed consent decree may not be implemented by the New Orleans Police Department for up to a year or longer. The NOPD has already begun the process of overhauling the Operations Manual and some of those new policies and procedures have been put into effect (Lexipol). As these new policies are placed into effect by the administration, they will become the new policies and procedures espoused by the New Orleans Police Department. NOPD officers are responsible for abiding by the rules and regulations of the New Orleans Police Department as they exist at the time.
Many of the topics covered in the proposed consent decree are already in place. However, there may be subtle differences between what is in the proposed consent decree and what is already in place. Don’t get caught in a trap by following a rule or regulation that is not a rule or regulation yet or by anticipating that a rule or regulation will be changed at some point in the future.
The proposed consent decree is not the document that governs the operation of the New Orleans Police Department or the actions taken by NOPD officers.