Police Details in New Orleans – Part 2

I recently posted an article on police details that discussed what details are and how they work. Details are paid for by individuals, businesses, or entities other than the New Orleans Police Department. Nobody works a police detail for the New Orleans Police Department. It simply does not work that way. Police details exist because sometimes people and/or businesses need security services that are solely for their benefit. Since these services only benefit a small number of people, nobody can expect the New Orleans Police Department, a municipal police department paid for by tax dollars, to perform these specialized services using personnel on the public payroll. However, these officers do benefit the larger community by supplementing publicly funded police services.

In 2012, the City of New Orleans entered into a consent decree with the Department of Justice. There are 10 pages of the consent decree dedicated to police details – Section XVI – Secondary Employment System, paragraphs 332-374.

Why is this a matter of constitutional policing? It is not.

In order to be able to explain the impact of the consent decree as it relates to police details, it is important to know how it worked before the consent decree. Before the consent decree, if you had a security need to address and wanted to hire a police officer for that purpose, you would just ask a police officer that you knew. If you didn’t know anyone, you could call your district station. You would work out the details with whatever officer you contacted about the police detail.

OPSE

The consent decree mandated the creation of the Office of Police Secondary Employment (OPSE). OPSE was supposed to be a function of the City of New Orleans. There would be no need for police officers to coordinate details any longer – OPSE would perform that function.

332. The Secondary Employment Coordinating Office (“Coordinating Office”) shall have sole authority to arrange, coordinate, arrange fully-auditable payment, and perform all other administrative functions related to NOPD employees’ off-duty secondary law enforcement employment (historically referred to as paid details) and shall be operated in accordance with the requirements of this Agreement.

United States of America v. City of New Orleans, Consent Decree, Page 85, Paragraph 332.

The consent decree lays out how OPSE is supposed to function. Customers would call OPSE to hire detail officers. OPSE would determine how many officers were needed, what kind of supervision would be necessary, the need for police vehicles, etc. Once OPSE and the customer agree on those things and the price of the detail, OPSE would bill the customer for the police detail and post the job so that officers can sign up. The customer would pay OPSE. OPSE then pays the officers who work the detail on their city paychecks. OPSE collects a fee on every detail hour worked and is supposed to be self-funding.

Before an officer can work a paid detail, that officer has to submit a detail authorization form. The detail authorization form goes up the chain of command and has to be approved before the officer can work the detail. The purpose of the form is to make sure the officer is in good standing to work the detail and to make sure the detail itself is suitable for a uniformed NOPD officer to work.

To recap – The person or business that wants to hire a detail calls OPSE. OPSE looks into the detail and, if the detail is approved, posts the detail on the OPSE detail portal. OPSE bills the person or business who arranged the detail. Once all of the approvals are obtained, the officer works the detail. The officer is paid by the City of New Orleans on the officer’s paycheck. The paystub is not exactly clear, but the money all comes for the same place.

OPSE’s job is to handle all aspects of paid details except actually doing the work. OPSE monitors compliance with the rules and regulations governing paid details as they exist as per the consent decree. If there are problems with officers exceeding the number of hours allowed, then it is OPSE’s job to notify the officer and get the officer back in compliance.

Happy Thanksgiving

Short version – I appreciate having been able to represent so many hard-working police officers over the last 13 years. Don’t every hesitate to pick up the phone. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving! You can skip the rest if you want.

In 2000, I decided to go to law school. I had just gotten married and I was working as a police officer in New Orleans. Fortunately, my assignments at NOPD allowed me to attend the Loyola University night program. I graduated from law school in 2004. I had been promoted to sergeant in 2003. I had also become more involved in the Fraternal Order of Police.

In 2004 I had also been transferred to the Traffic Division. I was commander of the Fatality Investigations Unit and I was also beginning to represent police officers in disciplinary proceedings.

I can say, based on experience, it is not a good idea to have a fellow police officer as a representative. That being said, Katrina created a unique set of circumstances that helped me get through those 4 years unscathed. If it hadn’t been for Katrina, I think representing police officers as a police officer would have backfired in some way. Fortunately, that never came to pass and I gained valuable experience during those 4 years.

Jim Gallagher, who has worked tirelessly to make the FOP better and better as long as I have known him, was instrumental in getting me involved in the Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. Since then, Jim’s vision and commitment to providing FOP members with the best services and benefits has allowed me to provide better and better legal services to FOP members. I am certainly grateful for that. I took a deferred pension in 2008 and I have been representing police officers since then. For the past few years, I have had the good fortune to represent about 400 police officer per year – between 60 and 90 different officers per month – in some capacity. I am grateful for that.

That is the point of all this rambling. I appreciate being able to represent police officers in New Orleans and throughout the state of Louisiana. I am grateful for being General Counsel for the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police. I am looking forward to being able to provide legal services to police officers for years to come and I will be grateful for that too. Thank you.

Police Details in New Orleans – Part 1

There has been a little bit of attention to police details in the New Orleans media recently. I do not think that members of the public really care about police details. But, if they do, then they should understand exactly what is being discussed. So, for a change, this article is as much for members of the general public as it is for law enforcement professionals.

What are police details?

There are really two types of police details. There are details that a police officer gets, usually because of his or her assignment, that are intended for the police officer to work as part of his or her regular tour of duty. For example, members of the NOPD Color Guard might have to begin the festivities at the annual luncheon for the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation. The NOPD Color Guard might also have to display our colors at a funeral, such as this one in remembrance of fallen Police Officer Natasha Hunter. These details are part of an officer’s regular tour of duty. That is to say that the officers detailed to these functions performed their duties as all or part of their shift for that day and are paid by their agency. Color Guard is just one type of detail. The NOPD details officers to dignitary visits when they need to protect a motorcade. The NOPD details officers to training functions. There are a variety of jobs officers are detailed to. Generally, these function are the type that are not performed every day — there are no officers permanently assigned to that function.

The second type of police detail is the kind that is also referred to as secondary employment. The NOPD consent decree requires that secondary employment details be handled through the New Orleans Office of Police Secondary Employment (OPSE). This is not to be confused with outside employment. Outside employment is when a police officer works as a tax preparer in his or her spare time. Outside employment is not the type of work that has to go through OPSE. The regulations governing outside employment can be found here. The regulation governing secondary employment, also known as police details, can be found here.

Police details occur when someone hires an off-duty police officer to perform a security function for them. Examples of police details range from hiring a police officer to sit and watch the family home while everyone is out at a funeral. Burglars are known to target the homes of people whose family members died recently because all of the details of the funeral proceedings are generally published in the newspaper (or some other type of public notice). One might hire a police detail for a wedding or a big birthday party to watch people to and from their cars. Businesses often hire detail officers to supplement their security when they have special needs. I have worked a police detail on horseback at the grand opening of a movie theater. I have worked police details at downtown hotels during Mardi Gras. Parade organizers had to shorten the route of the Krewe of BOO! parade on October 21, 2021 because the event producers were unable to hire enough detail officers to cover the whole route. The downtown hotels will need police details at upcoming Bayou Classic functions. Many Bayou Classic functions are staffed by detail officers so these functions do not further deplete the already depleted manpower of the New Orleans Police Department.

Police details are a way to provide for specific security needs of people and businesses within the jurisdiction. For the sake of this discussion, the jurisdiction is the City of New Orleans. Police details allow people and business to address their specific security needs without taxing the NOPD’s already taxed manpower. Police details also provide a way for hard-working police officers to supplement the salaries paid by the City. Police details function as a good recruitment tool as potential hires take this earnings potential into account when considering where to work. Potential recruits consider their base salary, state supplemental pay, millage, educational incentive, the availability of overtime, and the availability of police details.

Police details benefit the City of New Orleans and the police who life and work in New Orleans by supplementing police services without any cost to the taxpayer. Detail officers assist the officers who are working by providing officers who are able to respond to certain incidents much quicker. Detail officers also relieve regularly working officers from performing some of the time intensive duties.

The Experience of Law Enforcement on Jan. 6

podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/post-reports/id1444873564

There have been confusing and conflicting reports about the role of law enforcement on January 6, 2021. Even the title of the podcast linked above is confusing. This podcast is only about the “failure” of law enforcement on January 6, 2021 insofar as there were unreported successes. If for no other reason, this podcast is worth listening I guess to for the perspective of the Capital Police Captain reported in the second half of the podcast. The whole podcast is worth listening to. My guess is that all law enforcement officers have had similar experiences, whether they followed a hurricane or happened on the Pontchartrain Expressway.

New Orleans Vaccine Mandate

As City of New Orleans employees are aware, CAO Policy Memo No. 143 went into effect on October 18, 2021. In short, CAO Policy Memo No. 143 requires employees to produce either proof of vaccination or one negative test per week.

Recently, I learned that there were a few NOPD employees who were carried leave without pay (LWOP) as a result of CAO Policy Memo No. 143.

If you, or anyone you know, were carried LWOP as a result of CAO Policy Memo No. 143, the vaccine mandate, please give me or one of the other FOP attorneys a call. Sending a permanent, classified employee of the New Orleans Police Department home without pay is a suspension without due process and needs to be appealed to Civil Service pursuant to New Orleans Civil Service Rule II, Sec. 4.1.

Pursuant to New Orleans Civil Service Rule II, Sec .4.3, appeals have to be filed within 30 days of notice of disciplinary action. Since being sent home LWOP is not a traditional discipline, there is no traditional notice. Keep whatever documentation that is provided. Ask for documentation (maybe a 105) if none is provided. One way or another, call your FOP attorney. We should be able to get the lost pay back.

If this happened to you or this happens to you in the future, pick up the phone and give me a call.

Letters: Police details are examples of hard work, which Americans should applaud | Letters | theadvocate.com

The Oct. 17 article about employees of the New Orleans Police Department and the work these officers do in their off time described how a chemistry professor at the University
— Read on www.theadvocate.com/content/tncms/live/

New Orleans Vaccine Mandate

The following only applies to employees of the New Orleans Police Department.

After much back and forth with the City Administration, CAO Policy Memo 146 goes into effect today, October 18, 2021, for employees of the City of New Orleans. CAO Policy Memo 146 requires all employees to show proof of total vaccination (14 days after 2nd shot or 1 shot vaccine) or a negative test result. Employees without proof of vaccination on file with their HR person will have to present one (1) negative test per week to enter a City worksite. This constitutes a reduction from the initial policy that required 2 negative tests per week.

Employees of the New Orleans Police Department should familiarize themselves with the current version of Special Order 2-2021. SO 2-2021 outlines the specific procedures for NOPD employees as it relates to CAO Policy Memo 146.

There is a list of testing sites, including free testing sites at https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/testing/?utm_source=NOLAReady&utm_medium=banner. There are more COVID-19 resources available at ready.NOLA.gov.

If you are an NOPD employee who has to get tested weekly, please keep a detailed record of the following:

  • Keep a log of any and all time expended getting tested, if that testing is not during regular working hours. In other words, if you aren’t being carried regular working by your regular assignment when you leave to get tested, then you need to record the hours you spent getting tested. If you are leaving from home, start the time when you leave your home and end it when you return home. If you are leaving from or going to somewhere else, count the driving time to the testing site and end it when you are done with the testing.
  • Keep a log and receipts of any and all monetary expenses associated with testing.

For now, the city employees getting tested weekly should keep the log of time and expenses in case we need it later for legal actions. If you don’t keep these records it could exclude you from benefitting later.

Please contact me about these records in New Orleans and I will be happy to discuss it further. We will be taking the necessary actions on behalf of our members to protect our members. These records will be key to our success in protecting our members. You can email these records to me if you want. I will keep them for you. You can take pictures of receipts and text them to me if you want. The Crescent City Lodge of the FOP is here for you.

The City of New Orleans has stated that it does not intend to grant any exemptions to this CAO Policy Memo 146. That being said, if you are an FOP member who would like to request an exemption to this policy, you are welcome to contact me. Generally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for exemptions to these types of policies based on disabilities that prevent vaccination or sincerely held religious beliefs. An employer could have to grant a reasonable accommodation for employees with a disability that prevents the employee from getting vaccinated. Similar reasonable accommodations might have to be granted for employees with a sincerely held religious belief that prevents the employee from being vaccinated.

NOPD officer should be careful submitting exemption requests. They cannot be untruthful. Untruthful requests could subject the employee to disciplinary action. As I stated above, I am happy to assist FOP members with formulating an exemption request.

Any exemption request based on disability would have to explain what disability the exemption seeker had and how that disability interferes with the ability to take the vaccine. Any exemption request based on a sincerely held religious belief would have to be backed up by the religious customs the exemption seeker regularly observed. This would probably only include the Jehova’s Witnesses. All that being said, it is important to remember that if an exemption request were granted, the outcome would be that the exemption seeker would have to comply with the testing provisions of the policy as the policy contains both the mandate and the reasonable accommodation.

If you are sent home unauthorized leave without pay, please contact me immediately. This will be appealable to the Civil Service Commission. Contact me immediately if you are an NOPD employee who is sent home unauthorized leave without pay.

Again, this article only applies to employees of the New Orleans Police Department as of this time. NOPD officers should check back regularly for updates.

NOPD Senior Police Officer Promotions

Promotions to the position of Senior Police Officer has been one of the FOP’s top priorities since the NOPD first made Senior Police Officers. Out of all of the issues currently facing NOPD employees, this may be the one I heard about the most. The following email was sent out on October 5, 2021. I urge everyone who is eligible to take the steps necessary to get promoted. This is a non competitive promotion. In other words, you have to meet the minimum requirements and take the requisite classes to get promoted.

Everything has to be done by November 5, 2021. That only leaves 1 month to get everything done. If there is someone who is out for some reason, please make sure they have this information.

Who is eligible to be promoted? Any NOPD officer with 3 years experience as a Police Officer or Police Officer 1 is eligible as long as the training is completed and the training certificate is submitted by November 5, 2021. An NOPD officer becomes a Police Officer when the officer graduates from the academy. So, to be promoted, an officer has to have graduated from the academy by November 5, 2018. Any officer who graduated from the academy on or before November 5, 2018 would have permanent status.

Pay particular attention to the date everything needs to be completed: November 5, 2021. The (1) registration much be completed, (2) the training must be completed, and (3) the course completion certificates must be submitted no later than NOVEMBER 5, 2021. It will be difficult to complete this training in one day. The point is: Don’t wait until November 5 to try to do it all

The email announcing the promotional courses read as follows:

Superintendent Shaun D. Ferguson is proud to announce on-line training modules in anticipation for the promotional position of Senior Police Officer.

Minimum qualification requirements for this application include: 

  1. Permanent status as a Police Officer with NOPD. Three (3) years of experience with NOPD in any combination of Police Officer or Police Officer I.
  2. Successful completion of the current New Orleans Police Academy Police Officer II, III, IV, or Senior Police Officer training program.
  3. A letter from the Police Education and Training Division certifying successful completion of this training must be submitted.

 OPENING/CLOSING DATES:                            

The opening date for this training is effective with this message. All future applicants for promotion to the Senior Police Officer position must complete the assigned training curriculum and submit the required course completion certificates no later than November 5, 2021.

SENIOR POLICE OFFICER TRAINING PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

The Academy has formulated a SPO curriculum that will be delivered in a series of web-based training courses. Candidates are required to complete a total of five interactive courses offered by the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services – COPS Program). The VCPI “E-Learn Center” offers 24/7 access to these courses which include a variety of learning tools, multi-media segments, and exercises. Officers may access this training website on personal time from any computer with Internet connectivity. The modules can be paused and resumed to the location where discontinued. Participants will be able to print a certificate of training upon successfully passing each course examination.

SENIOR POLICE OFFICER CURRICULUM:

 I.                    ETHICAL DECISION MAKING: POLICING WITH PRINCIPLED INSIGHT Synopsis – EDM explores the practice of decision making and the ethical principles that support effective policing. EDM stresses that police ethics are not just an after-thought or a means of discouraging bad behavior, with public trust integrity and liability hinging on each and every decision. Ethics are a controlling insight that informs and guides police practitioners from an internal personal capacity while exploring realistic modern-day challenges faced in the policing profession. 

Run Time: 2 hours                                   Completion Time: 4 hours

 II. COMMUNITY POLICING DEFINED Synopsis – Provides participants with a basic awareness and understanding of the fundamental principles and best practices of community policing. Describes the practice of community policing while also examining how it can be effectively applied. The course explores partnerships, problem solving, and organizational transformation as they relate to specific issues and challenges facing today’s law enforcement professionals and the communities they serve.                        

Run Time: 4 hours                            Completion Time: 8 hours

 III.                COMMUNITY POLICING: IMPROVING POLICE EFFICACY AND BUILDING TRUST Synopsis – Explores how emerging issues are necessitating a commitment to the key components of community policing: partnerships, organizational transformation, and problem solving. The course includes an examination of the current state of policing—both locally and nationally— addressing the current and emerging issues that challenge the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and the well-being of the communities they serve. CPIPEBT challenges participants to explore the principles and practices of community policing as a means of achieving the public safety mission with greater efficiency by gaining and maintaining public trust and engaging the community in the shared responsibility of effective policing.                      

Run Time: 3 hours                            Completion Time: 6 hours

 IV.                PROBLEM ORIENTED POLICING: THE SARA MODEL Synopsis – Provides participants with a basic awareness and understanding of the fundamental principles of a common approach used by many community policing agencies to identify and solve repeat crime and community problems: the SARA model. The SARA model allows agencies to scan through multiple data sources, conduct a thorough analysis of a problem through the lens of the crime triangle, formulate a response, and continuously assess the impact of the response to the problem.                      

Run Time: 1 hour                              Completion Time: 2 hours

V.                  CRIME REDUCTION: ENFORCEMENT AND PREVENTION STRATEGIES  Synopsis – Designed to provide participants with an overview of best practices for crime reduction, including guidelines for implementing an organizational model for crime reduction at all levels within a police department. The course offers useful strategies for problem solving in order to develop immediate, short-term, and long-term responses to crime within a community.                        

Run Time: 2 hours                            Completion Time: 4 hours

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ON-LINE TRAINING

Eligible SPO candidates shall access the VCPI website at VCPI (vcpionline.org) and click on the “LOG-IN” screen. From there click on the “CREATE AN ACCOUNT” heading to register as a new user.  

Upon access to the E-Learn Center you will be prompted to a menu in the left corner titled “STUDENT DASHBOARD”, from there access the “VIEW/REGISTER FOR COURSES” and then click “REGISTER MYSELF” to take each of the SPO required training modules.  

A tutorial on how to use the commands is provided initially and can be viewed at any time by clicking on the “help” button on the top right of the screen. The modules are sequential and cannot be opened out of order. Officers taking the courses must complete all pages and each tab/insert within each page to be eligible for the certification exam. If at any time you exit the modules, reentry will allow you to go back to the location where you left off. 

SUBMITTAL OF TRAINING CERTIFICATESUpon completion of the modules and the course exams, you will be able to click on the final section to print the “Certificate”. The five completed certificates (in total) shall be personally delivered to the front desk receptionist at the Police Academy Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8AM and 3PM. DO NOT EMAIL CERTIFICATES.If you experience any difficulties with the on-line training, contact Duane Johnson, Academy Curriculum Director, dujohnson@nola.gov .   

Respectfully,
NOPD Academy