Plain Facts

The following was recently received from an 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 like I did below). You are welcome to submit something even if you do not work for NOPD. Email me or call me about submitting something — Donovan Livaccari dlivaccari@gmail.com; dal@livlaw.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.

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The public’s perception tends to shape political viewpoints and some policies within the police department. Details are no exception. The D.O.J. didn’t help the perception by labeling details the “aorta of corruption.”  I’ve read comments from nola.com from citizens who have wrote that officers should be concerned with doing their jobs within the N.O.P.D. or officers were being “greedy”. The average citizen may not know that there are policies in effect already regarding details such as how many hours an officer can work details per week and an officer cannot be “on duty” with the city and work a detail. Details are basically part-time jobs and they are taxed like any other job. As for being greedy, the majority of officers who work details on a regular basis do so to supplement their income because they have to, not because they want to.

Citizens may be under the assumption that having an Office of Secondary Employment will “shape up” the detail system, but there isn’t a problem to begin with. This newly formed office will take officers who have worked neighborhood details providing security for years, out  of those neighborhoods and different officers will be in their place. An officer who was working the same detail for years knows the neighborhood such as who lives there, what vehicles belong where, and they would know what is out of place. Whereas an officer new to the detail would have to learn this and meet the neighbors. This doesn’t make sense for community oriented policing, which I thought was a strategy the department was in favor of.

The new office was self described as being competitive to other security patrols and agencies. At $34.00 an hour, of which the officer receives $29.00, this is not competitive. Neighborhoods and businesses are not going to pay $34.00 an hour when they can get a cheaper rate elsewhere. This office will hurt the officer in the pocketbook and will reduce morale.

Officers aren’t the only ones affected, neighborhoods and businesses should know the $5.00 extra per hour is said to be used for administration fees and payroll within the office, but at $5.00 per hour per officer this office will more than pay for salaries and administrative costs. A question should be what is this “tax” going towards?

— Anonymous NOPD Officer

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