FOP Vigilance on the Fake News Front

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Members,

As some of you may have seen in the past week, Antigravity Magazine recently published a story (Get Behind the Mask, February 2017) disparaging the Fraternal Order of Police and law enforcement generally. Most importantly, author Jules Bentley leveled a serious allegation directed at a fictitious NOPD officer in her feature.

While I in no way wish to legitimize this fringe publication, it is troubling to consider that this writer is also a frequent contributor to Gambit Weekly. The FOP takes seriously the growing number of platforms in which conspiracy theorists spread nonsense and outright falsehoods that damage our relationship with the communities we serve. In such instances I make no distinction between legitimate media and this gratis alternative rag – if it has a circulation, the editorial board has a responsibility to fact-check. If they refuse to fact-check, the FOP will step in to rebuke such openly false claims.

Bentley’s incoherent stream-of-consciousness story makes little sense as it weaves between Nazis, police, and untruthful allegations of police misconduct during recent anti-Trump protests; the relevant excerpt can be found in the initial message of the email chain pasted below.

As always, the Fraternal Order of Police, New Orleans, remains vigilant in protecting our members (both real and fictional) and our profession from outright lies and we believe our duty to do so applies especially when such allegations are made in a public forum. While the exchange is humorous, keep in mind that at least some number of readers of this magazine believe this is journalism and the claims to be factual.

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To: Jules Bentley and Editorial Board, Antigravity Magazine (February 9, 2017)

From: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police

In re: Get Behind the Mask, February 2017
The Fraternal Order of Police; New Orleans, requests this publication issue a retraction to the above captioned story produced by Jules Bentley for the February 2017 print edition.
The story contains the following graf; “‘Turn off your body cameras,’ NOPD’s Brian Mcadam yelled to other officers as he waded into the anti-Trump crowd that fateful Friday night, grabbing for and indiscriminately whaling on every non-cop within reach.”
In Ms. Bentley’s colorful account of this criminal act, the story references a fictitious employee, Brian Mcadam, who is neither a current or past police officer of this jurisdiction.
While your magazine does not hold itself out as journalism (clearly), it is no less reckless to pander such falsehoods to inadvertent consumers of satire who are not at all aware of the difference. Such wild assertions are tantamount to my callously referring to Ms. Bentley as a writer, without regard for the truth of the matter.
If your interns insist on venturing into print, perhaps they should spread their wings at the Hullaballoo, where they can be monitored by a more experienced editorial board.
Jacob Lundy
Fraternal Order of Police
Policy Advisor, State of Louisiana
Policy Advisor, New Orleans
Member, Louisiana Legislative Committee
Member, National Legislative Committee
__________________________________________________
From: Jules Bentley (cc Editorial Board
To: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police
oh word what’s mcadam’s first name then? happy to correct that
p.s. “pander” doesn’t take a direct object without the preposition “to.”
p.p.s. louis ackal
__________________________________________________
From: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police
To: Jules Bentley (cc Editorial Board)
No one with the surname “Mcadam” is employed by the City of New Orleans, in any division or department. That isn’t a correction, it’s a retraction.
____________________________________________________
 (No one from Antigravity Magazine has responded to the last email.)
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Help Your Local Police Union.

Americans feel we have a God-given right to express our opinion. Americans wearing badges and blue uniforms aren’t allowed to openly voice thoughts contrary to department policy or directives issued by commanding officers. The exception to this rule are police union representatives, who take to the air waves and create content on behalf of this constituency.

Law enforcement supporters should contact local police unions and build a united front. Political campaigns and use-of-force incidents are times when such unity is key.

Candidates and activists contrary to public safety must be contested in the public square. We need look no further for examples than the 2016 presidential election cycle. One candidate won his primary with a battle cry of, ” law and order. ” Clearly, this resonated with millions of safety voters concerned about the future amid ambushes and riots. He was endorsed by the nation’s largest police union, while his opponent refused to even fill out the questionaire. This is a textbook case of police and public sentiment lining up behind a safety-minded politician.

As communities are targeted by enraged mobs and dubious policy proposals, helping your local police union transitions from mere civic duty to shoring up a besieged society. It’s high time we realized we’re simply parts of the same side!

-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, Your UrbanSafetyist. @nadraenzi on twitter.

FOP’s week on Capitol Hill

This past week FOP representatives from across the nation flew to Washington DC for the annual “Day on the Hill” event where the FOP’s national legislative agenda is discussed with members of the House and Senate. With 300,000+ members nationwide, a lobby presence, and state and national legislative offices, the FOP is often able to gain support for, and advance legislation that benefits those who serve this nation in law enforcement and public safety generally.

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Louisiana 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham, MD

Fraternal Order of Police Louisiana representatives included Darrel Basco, State President; Patrick Yoes, National Secretary; Dawn Powell, State Legislative Committee Chair; James Gallagher, Secretary-Treasurer; and myself, Jacob Lundy, Policy Chairman. Meetings throughout the week included Congressman John Flemming (R); Congressman Charles Boustany (R); Congressman Cedric Richmond (D); Senator Bill Cassidy (R); Senator David Vitter (R); Congressman Steve Scalise (R); Congressman Ralph Abraham (R), and Congressman Garrett Graves (R).

The 2016 FOP national legislative agenda was discussed throughout the week (details below), however FOP Louisiana and FOP New Orleans would like to point out that the murder of Officer Ashley Guindon in nearby Prince William County Virginia on February 27 during her first day on the job dominated talk in Washington and FOP addressed the anti-law enforcement climate around the nation and its effects on public safety with all members of congress from the beginning.

All representatives were predictably alarmed and engaged on this topic and pledged their support in helping to guide discourse in a reasonable and constructive direction, both in Washington and via national media. Our representatives also openly acknowledged their concern over what appears to be a national police recruiting drought with growing vacancies and increasing delays in calls for help as a result of the current climate.

I should make special mention here that each and every member of Congress personally sent their sincere thanks to the men and women of Louisiana law enforcement who continue to serve their communities day in and day out.

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Candid discussions of public safety, criminal justice, and law enforcement specific issues took place during the week with members of congress, many of whom sought FOP’s input on their own agenda items currently underway (body cameras, sentencing reform, opiate/opioid legislation, etc).

FOP’s national legislative agenda for 2016 included the following items of note for Louisiana members;

  • H.R. 973/S. 1651 the “Social Security Fairness Act,” FOP sought and received considerable support for restoring full social security benefits for law enforcement officers who pay into social security via details and additional side-employment throughout their careers but are denied full benefits at retirement
  • Enact S. 125/H.R. 228 to reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program which would provide for matching federal funds in purchasing body armor for state and local law enforcement
  • Support for restoration of the Department of Defense 1033 Surplus Equipment Program. As everyone knows, a single media event resulted in the knee-jerk decision to kill the 1033 program which provides demilitarized equipment to state and local law enforcement; equipment most commonly used to rescue victims of natural disasters or respond to active shooter scenarios – most recently to safely neutralize two well-armed terrorists in San Bernardino following a mass casualty shooting
  • Full funding of the COPS hiring and other grant programs
  • Full funding of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) Programs

All national agenda items received overwhelming support from our representatives, many of whom requested follow-up from the FOP’s national legislative office in Washington DC.

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Louisiana 4th District Congressman John Flemming, MD

In addition to scheduled agenda items, Jim Gallagher and Jacob Lundy were asked to meet with Congressman Cedric Richmond outside of the in-progress House Judiciary Committee hearing on the FBI-Apple debate where we provided input to Congressman Richmond on FOP’s general position as well our direct experience negotiating such obstacles in the course of major felony investigations, namely homicides. Our discussion with Congressman Richmond may be seen on Canal+ television. It is worth noting just after our meeting with Congressman Richmond at the House Judiciary Committee hearing that East Baton Rouge District Attorney  Hillar Moore was scheduled to testify on the murder of Brittney Mills, 29, pregnant at the time of her murder, and whose case may hinge on the contents of an Apple product currently inaccessible to law enforcement.

FOP also discussed and voiced opposition to the recently published Police Executive Research Forum’s paper Use of Force: Taking Policing to a Higher Standard, which, among other items, seeks to abandon 30 years of guiding Supreme Court jurisprudence on the objective reasonableness standard established in Graham v. Connor. While FOP pointed out that the paper contains some items all can agree on, and that law enforcement has and always will strive to improve training – the idealism in the PERF document reflects just how untenable law enforcement employment has become. The PERF document and discussions on its premise highlight the ever growing trend of ignoring social issues until they must be confronted by law enforcement, often during violent encounters, only to have law enforcement take the blame for decades of social neglect by all other stakeholders.

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Senator Bill Cassidy

Overall, FOP representatives nationwide, including Louisiana, described 2016’s Day on the Hill as very productive and engaging. Law enforcement and pubic safety generally were very much on the agenda in Washington DC, a city which has lost 800 police officers since 2014 and saw a 50% increase in homicides through 2015. All parties however expressed their commitment to turning that phenomenon around in future.

 

 

FOP Louisiana and FOP New Orleans would like to thank the following for their support during 2016’s Day on the Hill;

  • All members of Congress listed above, as well as their respective legislative staff members
  • Chuck Canterbury, FOP National President
  • Andy Maybo, Capitol Police Department, President FOP Lodge 1 Washington DC
  • All members of the Capitol Police Department
  • Josh Hodges, National Security Policy Advisor – Senator Vitter
  • Jim Pasco, Executive Director FOP Legislative Office, Washington DC
  • Robert Jenkins, President William Nichols Lodge 8, Miami FL
  • Captain David Bernhardt, FOP West Palm Beach FL

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Louisiana’s Future with Body Worn Cameras

by Jacob Lundy

As always, FOP New Orleans strives to keep members ahead of the curve when it comes to changes in law and policy; both of which seem to occur with considerable frequency in recent years.

As all members of the New Orleans Police Department are aware; we have yet to see any of our body worn camera videos on the evening news. Whether you think that’s a good or a bad thing, it is likely to change in the future. Given events in Chicago over the past several months, combined with the general direction of criminal justice transparency it seems likely that all body worn camera-equipped agencies nationwide will be forced to contend with the public’s desire to see what all these cameras are recording sooner or later. NOPD, for good reason, hastened the implementation of body camera use for the obvious benefits they provide to both police officers and citizens. Clearly, the idea was to get body cameras out into the field as quickly as possible and revisit aspects of Policy 447 (BWC) as needed. As with an ever increasing number of other states, Louisiana state law may soon dictate how and when such videos are made available to the public – among a number of other issues related to managing a body worn camera program.

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The State Legislature has convened a body worn camera task force with the aim of submitting a final report on a variety of concerns related to the possibility of state-wide implementation of body worn cameras. As you might expect, FOP has a seat on the Louisiana Legislature Law Enforcement Task Force for Body Camera Implementation

While body worn cameras are nothing new to NOPD; public release of footage would add another dimension to the now ubiquitous workplace devices and FOP intends to prepare its membership for the corresponding challenges. While a finalized state law could be quite a ways down the road, NOPD continues to transform into an agency of national firsts; FOP would not be surprised to see the department blaze its own trail ahead of the legislature in this arena. Regardless, FOP New Orleans would suggest officers assume today that all videos generated will be subject to public viewing. All of us at NOPD have been working over the past two years with the understanding that all issues of policy and law, from courtesy to use of force, can and will be reviewed via body camera footage by PIB, the FBI, FIT, OCDM, and the IPM (I believe that’s all of them). The men and women of NOPD have embraced the technology and far exceeded expectations in both implementation and performance. Regardless of the department’s exceptional performance, under any new public release law or policy a primary concern of lodge attorney Donovan Livaccari are the implications of actions and statements made between officers during and immediately following critical incidents which were formerly analyzed only by field experts. Members are reminded that a side effect of such transparency is that your actions are likely to be subjectively analyzed, often out of context, by any number of pundits for whom controversy = revenue. Your detractors are not necessarily influenced by the guiding principles of Graham v. Connor. Officers should remain cognizant that all statements made immediately following highly stressful encounters on body camera are indelible and have the ability to shape post hoc analysis of critical incidents. There is really no reason to be ambiguous on this topic; while engaged in the scope of your employment, should you become involved in a major use of force, however justified, you will become a de facto suspect in a criminal investigation. This is a practical FYI for all FOP members who are negotiating a rapidly changing law enforcement environment where literally everything you say and do is recorded – and may soon be at the top of the 5 o’clock news. FOP representatives will be making the rounds in the near future to discuss legal, privacy, and policy concerns with members.

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First meeting of the State Legislature Body Camera Task Force

As referenced above, the Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Legislature Law Enforcement Task Force for Body Camera Implementation in late 2015 which is comprised of various experts from state and local law enforcement, attorneys, ACLU and NAACP representatives, mayors, Darrell Basco (President of the Louisiana FOP), and is chaired by Franz Borghardt (criminal defense attorney, Baton Rouge). I spoke with Chairman Borghardt in Baton Rouge following the first meeting of the committee for some background and details on the work ahead, keeping in mind any eventual state legislation will certainly apply to NOPD and guide our continued use of the technology.

Chairman Borghardt on the creation of the task force; “the legislature, in HCR 180 (2015 R.S.), created the task force to study and make recommendations regarding requirements for the development and implementation of policies and procedures for the use of body cameras by law enforcement. This came from a House concurrent resolution by Representative Honore and Senator Broome as a response to legislation that was proposed to mandate, by law, the required use of the devices. The task force’s continued existence is governed by resolution and the task force itself serves at the pleasure of the Louisiana Legislature.” Borghardt continued, “the ultimate goal of the task force is to make an informed and well thought out proposal to the Louisiana Legislature with regard to the implementation and use of body cameras in Louisiana. This includes policies and procedures on implementation, considerations for privacy rights and officer safety, effects on public records law, data storage, and cost considerations.”

To-date the task force has met once for public discussion, a review of the goals of the committee, and homework was assigned to all members for research and input from their respective bodies/agencies to be submitted at future meetings. The committee will reconvene in March 2016.

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Some early discussions of the committee have been focused on a constitutional issue surrounding any mandate that all agencies in Louisiana implement body cameras; under Louisiana’s constitution, the state cannot mandate municipalities implement body cameras without paying for them. I think everyone would agree the state is in no position financially to pay for several thousand body cameras and incur the cost of maintenance and storage. The state does have the option of something called an unfunded mandate, meaning the legislature could require municipalities to implement body cameras at their own cost; those that do not would have state funding in some other area cut (remember when the federal government “suggested” Louisiana raise the drinking age from 18 to 21 or they would cut federal highway dollars = unfunded mandate). This avenue seems unlikely, however. On this particular issue, committee Chairman Franz Borghardt said “legislation that creates an unfunded mandate would likely be something that all parties involved would like to avoid.” What route the state takes in requiring or suggesting all police agencies adopt body cameras remains to be seen, Borghardt identified “long term cost of data storage” as one of the biggest perceived obstacles to state-wide implementation.

Beyond state mandates and associated costs, the most contentious item seems to be the host of privacy issues that surface with body camera use. This includes everything from front-end privacy concerns (can a citizen request an officer turn off his/her camera in their residence, filming in hospitals/schools, etc.) to back-end issues such as release of videos pursuant to records requests – the committee is also discussing whether our current public records law infrastructure would apply to camera footage as-is.

 

FullSizeRender 6Recently committee Chairman Franz Borghardt, Louisiana FOP President Darrell Basco, and others appeared as panelists on the Louisiana Public Square television show in Baton Rouge to discuss the committee’s work and common concerns about body cameras. FOP New Orleans also participated in the discussion on behalf of members to voice lodge concerns. We recommend viewing the show to get a state-wide gauge for the direction of body cameras in Louisiana (watch the show by clicking this link).

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In addition to formulating FOP’s official position on specific points on the commitee’s agenda, FOP President Basco cautioned the committee against hasty legislation that could potentially negatively impact both officers and the public. President Basco is advocating for a thorough review of existing state law elsewhere; the successes and failures of legislation in other states, carefully considering Louisiana’s privacy concerns, and preparing a proposal for a future session so that all members of the committee feel confident in any end result legislation.

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All members of the task force, including the FOP, are sourcing model legislation and existing research and data for submission to the committee. Representatives from New Orleans will also be giving a presentation to the committee on our city’s two years of experience with body worn cameras including the various pros  and cons over that time.

Members wishing to see the direction other states have paved in this area can refer to The Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press site which includes an interactive map with links to each state’s body camera laws (both existing and in-progress legislation). Also worth reading; the Department of Justice/Police Executive Research Forum study “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program; Recommendations and Lessons Learned”.

Regardless of existing data and research, Chairman Borghardt appropriately points out that “it is evident that the implementation of body cameras, in as much as policy and procedures can be enacted, will also require organic growth in understanding unforeseen issues with their use.”

As FOP New Orleans’ policy chair, I can report with confidence from the legislative committee to ongoing discussions in Baton Rouge; there is overwhelming support for body cameras across Louisiana but no consensus on when and how videos should be made public.

Additional articles/studies and relevant law can be found in the hyperlinks below;

Louisiana Title 44.1 et seq Public Records Louisiana Revised Statutes

7 Findings from First Ever Study on Body Cameras PoliceOne.com

Growing use of Police Body Cameras Raises Privacy Concerns Los Angeles Times

Use of Force Reporting Guide and Checklist Signal108, Donovan Livacarri

FOP Scholarships Make Lasting Difference for Members, Families

fop press release

For Immediate Release
Monday, September 14, 2015

FOP SCHOLARSHIPS MAKE LASTING DIFFERENCE FOR MEMBERS, FAMILIES

At its September meeting, the Fraternal Order of Police, Crescent City Lodge No. 2, awarded scholarships to members and their families through the organization’s Scholarship Program, which awards a total of $7,500 in scholarship funds each year.

Over the past 10 years, FOP Scholarship Committee Chairman Louis Shaw has overseen the disbursal of more than $50,000 in educational assistance to FOP members, their spouses, children and grandchildren.  At its September 2015 meeting, the FOP awarded the following scholarships:

FOP Attorney’s Continuing Education $1,000 Scholarship was awarded to NOPD Sgt. Nicole Powell.  Powell is assigned to the NOPD’s Investigative Services Bureau, and is attending Loyola University of New Orleans.  This scholarship is funded by donations from our FOP Legal Plan attorneys, many of whom are former New Orleans police officers.

Through the Robert E. Lampard, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, $500.00 was awarded to Meghan Brown, the granddaughter of retired NOPD Lieutenant John Jackson.  Meghan Brown attends Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge.  The Robert E. Lampard, Jr. Memorial Scholarship is awarded in honor of the late Robert E. Lampard, Jr., longtime National Trustee of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Through the J. Fant Taylor College Scholarship, named for a longtime benefactor of the FOP, two scholarships of $500.00 were awarded. Sgt. Omar Garcia, assigned to the NOPD Child Abuse Section, was awarded $500.  Garcia is attending the University of New Orleans.   NOPD Officer Valerie Keys was also awarded a $500 scholarship.  Keys, assigned to the NOPD Crime Laboratory, is working toward a degree from the University of Phoenix.

In order to assure that our younger members can also benefit from our scholarship program, the FOP Crescent City Lodge also awards two $500 High School / Grade School scholarships to children in grade school and high school.  This year’s recipients are Anthony Ceravolo, son of FOP member Capt. William Ceravola (ret.), who attends Lyon Elementary School; and Rachal Bancroft, granddaughter of Arthur Bancroft, who retired from NOPD in 2006, is attending Belle Chasse Academy, located at the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse and dedicated to the education of military-dependent children.

“Our Scholarship Program makes a lasting impact, not only on the recipients and their families but on our community,” said Sgt. Walter Powers, Jr., president of the lodge.  “Education makes the NOPD stronger and improves New Orleans in myriad ways that last long after graduation ceremonies.  We’re proud of our contributions to our city, and we’re proud of all the scholarship recipients.”

The Fraternal Order of Police, Crescent City Lodge, is the largest law enforcement organization associated with the New Orleans Police Department.  Our membership is made up of over 1,000 active law enforcement officers and nearly 900 retired officers.  Our mission is to promote and foster the enforcement of law and order; to improve the individual and collective proficiency of our members in the performance of their duties; to encourage fraternal, educational, charitable and social activities among law enforcement officers; to advocate and strive for uniform application of the civil service merit system for appointment and promotion; to support the improvement of the standard of living and working conditions of the law enforcement profession through every legal and ethical means available.

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Media Contact:

James Hartman
tel:504.458.4600
504.458.4600
james@jameshartman.net

FLSA/Incentive Pay Overtime Law Suit #NOPD #FOP #FOPNO

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UPDATE:  The deadline to opt-in to the lawsuit has been extended to June 30, 2014.

As you may have heard, attorneys for the Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) have entered into a settlement agreement with the City of New Orleans in a federal law suit concerning the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and incentive overtime.  If you were an employee of the New Orleans Police Department on or after May 10, 2009, you may be eligible to collect back pay.

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OPSE Update 6/27/13 #FOP #FOPNO #NOPD

UPDATE:  City Council committee advances measures creating new office to oversee police details – NOLA.COM

Today, the New Orleans City Council’s Budget Committee met to consider the ordinances proposed for the Office of Police Secondary Employment.  The ordinances considered today set the pay scale for officers and established an enterprise fund through which those payments will be made.  These are the ordinances that have been available for quite some time.IMG_8074

Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell (co-authored by Councilmember Stacy Head) offered a number of amendments to these ordinances.  A gist of the amendments were as follows:

  1. “Major Special Events” to include events held at the Convention Center, Fair Grounds, Mahalia Jackson Theater, Sanger Theater, Superdome, New Orleans Arena, and Lakefront Arena with expected attendance exceeding 2,000.
  2. Holiday premium will ($17/hr.) will be paid on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Mardi Gras, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.  Also receiving premium pay will be Lundi Gras, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
  3. The OPSE fee will be 15% of the hourly rate not to exceed $5.00/hr.  Any difference will be split between the officer and the detail employer.  For example, an officers pay would go to $29.50/hr. and the detail employer would only have to pay $33.93/hr.
  4. The amendments specify that no additional amounts will be charged to the officer.
  5. Any fees left over at the end of the year will be refunded proportionately to the officers who worked details and the OPSE’s budget will be adjusted to reflect actual expenses (rounded up to the nearest percentage).
  6. The City Council can waive the OPSE’s fee by ordinance.
  7. The City Council can make an exception to the pay scale by ordinance.
  8. The City Council can waive the periodic rotation requirement by ordinance.
  9. OPSE will comply with La. R.S. 33:2339 (Otherwise known as SB159)
  10. Special Taxing Districts or Security Districts (Lakeview, Mid City, etc.) will remain overtime and not subject to OPSE.
  11. Details required by special order of the City of New Orleans are not subject to pay or rotation requirements.
  12. Rates of pay for details requiring specialized certifications (bomb dogs, divers, etc.) would not be set by the pay scale, but based on level of certification.
  13. For any pre-existing, single-officer details that are paid at a rate lower than the schedule rate, officers may elect to continue working the assignment at the lower rate.

IMG_8072The ordinances, along with the amendments will be considered at the next regularly scheduled City Council Meeting, July 11, 2013.  There the proposed ordinances will be voted on by the entire City Council.

Video of today’s meeting can be seen here.  Choose #11 on the agenda.

Don’t forget to download the new FOPNO App available for iOS and Android today!

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#FOP in the News – Concerns about consent decree, crime prevention districts – FOX 8 WVUE #fopno #nopd

Concerns about consent decree, crime prevention districts – FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports.

FOP in the News – Landrieu administration, City Council at odds over NOPD sergeants exam, but resolution could be near | NOLA.com #fop #nopd

Landrieu administration, City Council at odds over NOPD sergeants exam, but resolution could be near | NOLA.com.