Details (and other rants)

The following was recently received from 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 dlivaccari@gmail.com; dal@livlaw.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.

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I concur with the opinions which have been offered, the creation of the “Office of Police Secondary Employment” (OPSE) is in no form or fashion eliminating the possibility for corruption. It merely allows the political machine in City Hall to use the sweat and toil of the common man to pad the pockets of an arbitrarily selected “crony” appointed by the mayor. Many officers have for years done exactly what the department claims to desire and forged trusting meaningful relationships within the community only to have a mayoral appointee make a salary which is many times the salary of the individuals who are forced to work these details to provide a decent standard of living for themselves and their families. The city is offering no recourse except to force the members of the police department to become members of this feudal system which exploits the common worker. These officers who invested their time, their passion and their hearts into the relationships are not rewarded for the development of contacts but rather made to feel although their contribution is actually a negative unwanted and derisive behavior. The creation of this office does nothing to foster a higher morale within the department but actually tears apart the delicate fabric which is the union between the officers of the department and the members of the community because in addition to marginalizing the individual officers this “system” fails to provide peace of mind to the end consumer from the community. The individuals in our community who have sought and located peace of mind are deceived into to notion all police officers are equal. A veteran has years of experience to draw on, that experience should be rewarded not overlooked. Frankly the notion all officers are equal is an insult to the officers and an underestimation of the public’s intelligence. Finally, I for one, would like to see a greater degree of accountability concerning the usage of the monies seized by the OPSE. The language of OPSE concerning when the accounting would be released was very ambiguous.

Speaking of the bond between the department and the community I would like to address the recent reinstitution of the residency requirements. In what Orwellian nightmare is this a good idea? The justification for mandating police officers to live in a community where they are forced to subject themselves to a lower standard of living, higher cost of living and the continual likelihood they will be confronted by an individual who harbors the officer ill will while off duty and accompanied by friends or loved ones is ludicrous, inane and counterproductive. The individuals who make up the department agree to the very real possibility harm coming to them during the performance of their duties but subjecting their loved ones to this possibility is unnecessary The residency requirement in essence forces members of the department to take a several thousand dollar a year pay cut to afford paying the taxes and other bills which happen to be higher in Orleans Parish. The theory officers need to live shoulder to shoulder with the general populace of their jurisdiction is an antiquated idea.

I would also like to visit the topic of “plain talk”. “Plain talk” was instituted as part of the interagency cooperation plans, however it plainly speaks to the fact the policy makers are completely out of touch with reality. First the reality of the situation is any outside agency that comes in is not just going to be handed a map and told to patrol the streets. There is a departmental liaison assigned to work with the outside agency. Additionally it creates several safety hazards. Speaking in “plain talk” creates additional radio communication requirements which in a situation in which seconds mean the difference between life and death the ability to transmit information is of the utmost importance. Also often we are called upon to communicate information which is sensitive and “plain talk” eliminates the possibility to do so without the general populace understanding the messages being conveyed. If a subject is alerted to the fact he is wanted and going to be arrested his reaction is likely to be one which endangers the officer and possibly the general population. There was a valid and important reason police began using codes that reason hasn’t changed and the need for the usage of the codes still exists.

Many of the changes which our department has been subjected to appear to be poorly researched, illogical knee-jerk reactions to mistaken public opinion. Rather than educating the public as to why individual policies are in place our department has elected to become reactionary and allow common public opinion to make policy with little to no regard to what is in the departments best interest.

— Anonymous Officer

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