The following was recently received from Sgt. George Waguespack, an active NOPD officer, in response to our recent Letter to the Editor regarding the planned changes to the NOPD detail system.
I would like to invite and encourage anyone who would like to share their thoughts on police details to submit something to be published. It can be about these so-called “reforms” or it can be your personal experience working paid details with how the detail impacted the community we serve. It could also be about how working paid details has impacted your family.
I would also like to strongly encourage anyone who works details to ask their detail employer to contribute their personal experiences with paid details and how it effected their business or event.
I will be happy to give the author credit for the article or post it anonymously at the author’s direction. Furthermore, I will refrain from editing (except maybe spacing for readability). You are welcome to submit something even if you do not work for NOPD. Email me or call me about submitting something — Donovan Livaccari firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.
It is hard to believe that detail rates are being sent back to the last millennium. The“department” prides itself on moving forward and becoming a model department for the rest of the country. It is rather hard to move forward, when policies such as the detail policy takes us back 15 to 20 years, as far as the detail rate goes. In my opinion, retention is one of the biggest challenges the NOPD faces today. This new practice, along with the new residency requirement, will have a crippling effect on retention as well as hiring.
I have worked details for 28 years as a means of financial survival and a way to provide the things my family, as well as I, deserve. It was always a way to provide private education for my child, a way to buy a reliable, safe car my wife could drive, a way to go on vacations that I deserve, as a means to get away, de-stress and spend quality family time that is needed.
All those years of working different shifts, being on unpaid call out and working details cause so many of us to sacrifice time away from home and family. But, as a responsible man, I did what I had to do to provide for my family. Working details was a decision I made, not always a popular decision, but a necessary one.
We, as police officers, are called greedy and corrupt, by those who have no idea of what it takes to survive on the salary of a NOPD cop. I am neither greedy, nor corrupt. I am a man who is a professional police officer, a man who takes pride in his job and work, while giving my all to the department and the career I chose. Details provide the opportunity to get some of the finer things in life, things which many people take for granted. My working of details has never affected my performance on the job. I know my limitations and have learned to balance the amount of details I can work, without it effecting my primary job’s performance.
People in other jobs and careers who work a lot are called go-getters, hard-working people who want the best for their families and are looked up to for their drive, dedication and determination. But we are called greedy and corrupt. Well, walk in my shoes and you will see that I am no different from any other hard-working man.
To think that in the dog hot days of the summer, as I sweat like a pig for hours in the sun on a construction site, or on a traffic control detail, or on another equally miserable detail, I have been reduced to $29.00 an hour, while $5.00 an hour is being taken from me by someone who does nothing. And when I am freezing in the winter, I am losing the money I deserve and I earned, so $5.00 an hour can be removed from my pay. I worked the detail, I deserve full pay for my efforts.
Yes, I used the word miserable when describing certain details. Lest anyone think that I enjoy working details which cause me to be away from home and family. For 28 years, I have had a dream of working one job, no details, no extra work, but that will not ever happen. It is a fact of life that I have accepted. Here is an easy solution. Give me a 30% pay increase and you can keep the details. That too, will never happen, so details will remain a vital part of my life
Sergeant George Waguespack