The following was recently received from an NOPD officer’s spouse 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.
I first want to start out saying that I married my husband knowing he was a police officer and what it means. I know that we won’t have a million dollar home or ever become wealthy because of his calling. I firmly believe that it isn’t just a job but a career and a calling. Okay with that being said these are my thoughts on the revamp.
My problems and or concerns about the paid detail revamp goes as such: The first issue I have is that they are creating a new department (Department of Secondary work) to handle the details. How can you create a new department when you always threaten the police officers with an extra off day because the city doesn’t have enough money. The second is having to pay the city $5.00 an hour. For what the use of their guns and radios, oh wait that’s right they are creating a new department to handle the details
so that means they will use that money to pay those people. If the department would charge $2.00 an hour like Plaquemines does(which has been confirmed by a friend who works for Plaquemines) it wouldn’t be so bad BUT with Plaquemines everyone has a take home unit AND they are given their uniforms, gun belts, vest, etc…The break down for them is $1.00 an hour for use of the unit and $1.00 an hour for the other stuff. Yes, NOPD does give an uniform allowance, but that only covers about half if not less. My husband does not have a take home so he uses our vehicle and our gas. The third issue is the companies having to send the payment to the city and then the city will issue the checks, I don’t know about all of that. I mean really has anyone ever called personnel to get an explanation of their pay check. It is really scary because they can not explain it because they have no clue. So you mean to tell me that the police are suppose to be comfortable with this aspect. The fourth is the detail pay usually supplements their pay checks because of working in such a dangerous city you really need to have umpteen disability policies and life insurance or when the city decides to give an extra day of without pay in a pay period for any extended amount of time.
For my family the paid details help pay for my husband’s gas back and forth to work, lunches/dinners, our house note, our children’s school uniforms and supplies (they go to public school), and other bills if needed. It also goes for the last minute uniform requirements such as, but not limited to the traffic highlighter looking vest that we didn’t know about needing until about three days before the special event oh and don’t forget the whistle too.
Thank you for giving me a chance to share my grievances. I have many thoughts on other issues with the city and the department such as the domicile rule. I will be happy to share if you will be willing to listen.
— Anonymous Wife
I have been an Officer for 10 years, and I love my job! I also love the fact that I have an option of making extra money to provide my family with the things they deserve. The best schools, safest neighborhoods to live, etc. Those things come with a price, a price every real man, husband, and father, is willing to pay if it’s in the best interest of his family. Let’s forget I am a Police Officer, and say I work in the private industry. If I was to work an extra job or overtime to provide for my family then one would be looked at as a strong dedicated person or role model, but I am a police Officer who “should be focused only on being a police officer”, and not making extra money. Why is it because I’m an officer it’s corrupt? The details have been badly labled by federal government employees who make six figure salaries. I have never made a six figure salary even when I’ve worked the total 24 hours of details allowed within a week.
The public has been persuded by the media regarding this issue, and I dont think they understand the NEED for an officer to have just a decent living by working extra hours. The comments I have come across on nola.com and other news sites are repulsive. Like it is with police work its now the same for details. With policework lots of people always tell me “thank you for what you do” and “I could never do your job”, but its the only profession where people have the need to tell you how you should do your job. You dont tell a fireman how to put out a fire, a doctor how to treat a patient, or a barber how to cut hair.
In closing I work a detail 5 days a week for 3 hours a day and I still get home in time only to see my wife dresing them in their pajamas, and putting them in bed. I’m gone before they get up the next morning. I miss them so much everyday but they would not have the things they have without my steady detail. I’m just glad they love me as much as I love them and I hope I can still provide for them in the near future, because with this new detail plan there is just no certainty.