The following was recently received from an officer in the metro New Orleans area 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.
Greedy officers working details? I remember swearing an oath to protect and serve, to discharge the duties of my position fairly and impartially, to be fair and just in my dealings with the public. I don’t recall swearing a vow of poverty. Is it really greed to want to live in a decent home in a decent neighborhood? Is it really greed to want to be able to provide a good education for your children? Is it really greed to be willing to work some extra hours to save some money? When, exactly, did it become greedy to want to have a savings account? When did it become greedy for a police officer to want to have the same things that his friends and neighbors take for granted?
On another front, police officers working many of these off-duty details are the only time most of the public gets to talk to a police officer. In New Orleans, the officers are so busy working through the backlog of calls and responding to those calls that are potentially life-taking that they have little to no time to actually speak to the folks they serve. When you’re on a detail, whether it’s a neighborhood patrol, standing in a store, at a restaurant or wherever, there is not that sense of urgency. Officers and citizens actually have the time to interact. People who talk to police officers for any length of time quickly come to the realization that we are actually people, too.
Although I’m not with (nor have I ever been with) N.O.P.D., this is my 38th year as a full-time law enforcement officer. It’s also my 36th year as a police officer who works these off-duty details to supplement my income. I’ve finally reached the point where I can “bank” my detail money and afford things like decent vacations and taking the family out to eat on more occasions than ever before. But I can also tell you that while working these off-duty details, I have come to meet and speak with many, many people who I never would have come into contact with. We’re approachable and not in a rush to clear the call and move onto the next one; we have time to be those “community-oriented” police officers who can take the time to listen and suggest avenues they can take to resolve their problems.
I see the detail system has been labeled an “aorta of corruption.” Is anyone out there really naive enough to think that moving it under the mayor’s office will make anything better? Think about it…the N.O.P.D. is already under the mayor’s office and that hasn’t seemed to have worked out very well for many years now.
A L.E.O. from another local agency.