Current NOPD Issues: Negotiated Settlements, Education in Lieu of Discipline, and Discipline in the Consent Decree

The Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police represents 1,009 active New Orleans Police Department Officers, or about 90% of all current police officers in New Orleans. There are 1,022 other members of the Crescent City Lodge, including 863 retirees, 43 NOPD Reserve Officers, 12 terminated NOPD Officers, 89 other active law enforcement officers, 4 associate members, and 11 honorary members. The Crescent City Lodge offers unmatched legal representation and offers services and benefits to members that are unrivaled. It is impossible for me to keep everyone up to date on everything the FOP is working on on behalf of our members. Here are a few highlights:

  • The FOP employs a lobbyist, Joe Mapes of Mapes & Mapes, to represent our interests in Baton Rouge during the legislative session. Since this current legislative session has been in session, there have been a number of bills introduced which are adverse to law enforcement officers. We have participated in numerous discussion, telephone conferences, meetings, etc. to either eliminate these bills or minimize their impact on FOP members. We have been working closely with the Louisiana FOP and other law enforcement groups from around the state to try to get the best outcome for law enforcement officers. In particular, a recent article in one of the law enforcement blogs, the headline read that the legislature had stripped officers of due process rights. The headline is misleading, but it is misleading because the FOP fought to ensure the due process rights of law enforcement officers were protected. You may receive emails from the Louisiana FOP asking you to participate in Voter Voice. This system allows you to send emails to your elected officials on our legislative priorities.
  • The FOP is representing several officers in civil suits resulting from accidents in police cars. In addition to providing legal representation through the FOP Legal Plan, the FOP is working with the administration to change the City’s policies as they relate to take-home cars.
  • The FOP paid for the families of Officers Jude Lewis and Natasha Hunter, both killed in the line of duty, and two escort officers, to attend the National FOP Police Week functions where their names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENTS

There seems to be an increase in the NOPD’s use of negotiated settlements. From the Department’s perspective, the use of negotiated settlements gives the Department a way to deal with disciplinary investigations and their impact on manpower. The Department’s interpretation of the consent decree has created a disciplinary system which strains our already strained manpower. Negotiated Settlements allow the Department to dispose of complaints by taking action in a way that doesn’t result in hours upon hours of work by multiple employees. Click here to view the regulation on Negotiated Settlements.

How does it work?

When complaints are received by PIB, they are analyzed for classification. Criminal allegations are sent to the criminal section, some are sent to the Independent Police Monitor for mediation, and some are deemed appropriate for Negotiated Settlement. These are minor infractions that seem fairly straightforward. Once a case is deemed appropriate for Negotiated Settlement, PIB sends a packet to the officer’s commander. Once the commander receives the packet, a Presentation Meeting is scheduled. This could be the first time the officer becomes aware of the pending complaint.

At the Presentation Meeting, the commander will provide the officer with the information regarding the complaint. This should include details of the allegations, including the particular infraction(s) and the evidence, and where the violation falls on the penalty matrix should the allegation be sustained and what the penalty will be if the officer accepts the Negotiated Settlement.

At the conclusion of the Presentation Meeting, the officer has three choices. The officer can 1) accept the offered settlement and penalty; 2) request a reflection period; or 3) reject the offered settlement.

If the officer accepts the offered settlement and penalty, then that is the end of the line. The complaint is not sent out for investigation and the settlement documents are sent up the chain of command for the necessary approvals.

If the officer requests a reflection period, then the officer gets 5 days to think about whether or not to accept the settlement and penalty. At the conclusion of the 5 days, the commander and the officer have a settlement meeting where the officer informs the commander of his decision. If the officer chooses to accept the settlement, then that is the end of the line and the paperwork is sent up the chain of command. If the officer rejects the settlement, then it is sent out for investigation. The decision to accept or reject the settlement offer can be made prior to the end of the 5 days. If no decision is made within 5 days, it is sent out for investigation.

What are the considerations?

First of all, I recommend you contact your FOP attorney regarding any Negotiated Settlement. Your FOP attorney is in a position to discuss whether or not the Negotiated Settlement is a good idea. The rules and regulations, including the disciplinary regulations, are not necessarily something officers study on a regular basis. Consulting with your FOP attorney will increase your chances of making the best possible decision. Also, bringing your FOP attorney into the situation will make you eligible for the FOP’s salary reimbursement option should you end up with a suspension.

The primary reasons for accepting a Negotiated Settlement should be that the officer did, in fact, commit the alleged infraction, and the penalty will be less than the penalty should the complaint go through the normal disciplinary process. For those officers on a promotional register, Negotiated Settlements have the added benefit of resolving a complaint as quickly as possible so that a pending investigation doesn’t interfere with a promotion.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that it is beneficial for some, but not all. If the officer didn’t commit the alleged dereliction, then the officer might not want to take the settlement. If the investigation, should it be investigated fully and sustained, would result in a Letter if Reprimand, and the settlement offer is a Letter of Reprimand, then the officer might want to consider letting the Department investigate. However, if the pending investigation would prevent a promotion and the officer did, in fact, violate the rules as alleged, then it may very well be in the officer’s best interest to accept the settlement. Call your FOP attorney. It will make the analysis a little easier.

EDUCATION IN LIEU OF DISCIPLINE

On May 21, newly revised regulations on discipline will become effective. One of the new options available to supervisors will be the use of education in lieu of discipline. In the case of minor, rank-initiated complaints, education may be available to replace suspensions of 10 days or less. For violations that fall in the “D” class or higher, education cannot be used to eliminate discipline, but it can still be used to reduce it. In short, for A, B, and C violations, training can be used to eliminate suspensions 10 days or fewer. For D, E, F, or G violations, or suspensions greater than 10 days, training can serve to reduce the penalty. Click here to see the new regulation on Non-Disciplinary Responses to Minor Violations and the Disciplinary Penalty Matrix (includes education in lieu of discipline).

DISCIPLINE AND THE CONSENT DECREE

After many meetings and much complaining by the FOP, there are some pending changes to the consent decree, particularly paragraphs 143, 328, and 404. The changes will relieve supervisors from responding to a level 1 use of force. In addition, disciplinary investigations which can be conclusively resolved through the use of video evidence (BWC or MVU) can be disposed of without further investigation. We recognize that investigation of complaints is an extremely important aspect of modern policing. That being said, the FOP remains committed to reducing the adverse impact these investigations have on the efficiency of an officer’s ability to do the job expected of him or her. Click here and here to see the impending changes to the consent decree. The FOP also remains committed to fair outcomes of these investigations.

One of the biggest problems facing the legal profession is that many of the people who need legal services the most cannot afford those legal services. The FOP Legal Defense Plan makes legal services available to its members at an affordable price, all contained in bi-weekly dues. Appealing a suspension would likely be beyond the financial resources of your average officer. When that appeal goes to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal or the Louisiana Supreme Court, the ability to absorb that cost becomes even more unlikely. When an officer falls into a situation like we have seen around the country in places like Missouri, Maryland, and Minnesota, where legal representation is not an option but a requirement, it can have a life-changing impact that no officer can survive on his own. Fortunately, as an FOP member, YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. Click here for contact info.

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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

A Tale of Two Cities; LAPD’s Twelve Year Consent Decree

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     In May of 2013 the Los Angeles Police Department was unceremoniously released from a twelve year consent decree in a three-line ruling by District Judge Gary Feess; the same federal judge responsible for extending LAPD’s original time frame from five years to ten, and eventually twelve years. The LAPD was the first municipal police agency to undergo a consent decree after Congress granted the Justice Department new powers to seek injunctive relief by suing state and local governments in federal court – powers extended specifically to address problems in the LAPD that would later be used in binding over 20 additional U.S. agencies in consent decrees.

     “When the decree was entered, LAPD was a troubled department whose reputation had been severely damaged by a series of crises, In 2008, as noted by the monitor, ‘LAPD has become the national and international policing standard for activities that range from audits to handling of the mentally ill to many aspects of training to risk assessment of police officers and more,’” Feess wrote of the release.

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State Arrest/Search Warrants

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STATE ARREST/SEARCH WARRANTS; FORMAT AND CONTENT 

                As several new officers have recently completed FTO phases, followed in two weeks by another 30 recruits, I thought it may be a good time to thoroughly cover the topic of state warrants and their format/content. In addition to some basic concepts for new officers; this is also an excellent forum for covering more advanced topics for specialists to hopefully clear up some areas subject to frequent confusion (expiration of warrants for contents of electronic devices, etc). Each topic has a subject heading below so hopefully this article will be useful as a quick reference for both new and experienced members looking for guidance on specific issues. Also below are some suggestions and concerns offered by Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Magistrate Jonathan Friedman. Note that I have not covered NOPD policy in this article; NOPD policy is substantially based on Louisiana law on the subject and many of our readers work outside of Orleans Parish. This article is intended to provide a relevant overview of Louisiana law on search and arrest warrants, suggestions on structuring a factual basis, and links to completed warrants (here) are included so that new officers can read actual search and arrest warrants covering a variety of scenarios to get a feel for the finished product.

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#NOPD Police Details #NOLA #FOP #FOPNO

detail mcEconomic Impact for the City of New Orleans

Sugar Bowl (2012) – $493.73 million (Metro New Orleans) http://www.allstatesugarbowl.org/site.php?pageID=19&newsID=564#.Uy3IA61dViY

NBA All Star Game – $90 million  http://gnosports.com/2014-new-orleans-host-committee-announces-successful-nba-star-game/

Mardi Gras – More than $500 million (Regional)  http://www.wdsu.com/news/entertainment/carnival-central-extended-coverage/new-orleans-prepares-to-implement-new-mardi-gras-rules/24569136#mid=18674480

French Quarter Fest – $259.5 million  http://fqfi.org/about.html

WrestleMania XXX – Unknown – Estimated 80,000 visitors   http://www.neworleanscvb.com/press-media/press-kit/whats-new/

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival – More than $300 million  http://www.forbes.com/sites/adrianalopez/2013/05/06/new-orleans-jazz-fest-comes-full-circle-with-its-mission/

What do all of these things have in common?  The police details which contribute significantly to making these events safe and successful will not be handled by the Office of Police Secondary Employment (OPSE).

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OPSE Developments 8/8/13 #FOP #FOPNO #NOPD

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On Thursday, August 8, 2013, the New Orleans City Council considered the proposed OPSE ordinance, yet again.  The ordinance considered today was an amended version of the ordinance.

On Wednesday, August 7, 2013 the DOJ send a letter to the City Attorney’s office complaining that some of the amendments to the proposed ordinance would be contrary to the provisions of the Consent Decree.  The DOJ Letter can be found by clicking here.

As a result of the DOJ letter, the City Attorney’s office advised the City Council that if they didn’t pass this ordinance and adjust it to comply with the Consent Decree that either the City would be held in contempt of the Consent Decree or that Judge Morgan would not allow any paid details at all.

Ray Burkart lobbies for amendments to OPSE ordinance.

Ray Burkart lobbies for amendments to OPSE ordinance.

The City Council met in Executive Session for about two hours while they discussed how they were going to handle the ordinance in relation to the DOJ letter.  Once they came out of Executive Session, Stacy Head offered the following amendments:  Section b(6) was to be deleted in its entirety and the words “or rotation requirement” were to be deleted in Section b(9).  These two amendments passed 6-0.  Cynthia Hedge-Morrell did not vote.

Susan Guidry then offered an additional amendment that deleted section b(8) in its entirety.  Ms. Guidry’s amendment passed with a vote of 5-1 (Head voted AGAINST).

The entire, amended ordinance was then offered and voted on by the entire City Council and it passed with a vote of 5-2 (Head and Hedge-Morrell voted AGAINST).

The final version of the ordinance looked something like this.

Myself and Raymond Burkart, III were present the entire day and worked tirelessly to try to get the best possible outcome for FOP members.  Raymond gave an impassioned plea to the City Council, but by then they had already decided what action they were going to take.  The video can be found here.

Raymond Burkart, III argues on behalf of the FOP.

Raymond Burkart, III argues on behalf of the FOP.

The entire City Council insisted that it was their intention to further examine the issues raised in the letter from DOJ and revisit the ordinance accordingly.  It should be noted that Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, who was responsible for most of the amendments to the ordinance, did not vote out of protest and because of an ethics complaint leaked to the media.  It should also be noted that Stacy Head was steadfast in her opposition to today’s second amendment and the ordinance as a whole.  It is worth watching the entire video.

What does all this mean?

The ordinance that passed set the pay scale for paid details that are time-based (as opposed to flat-fee details.  For example, a four hour stand-up at Wal Mart is a time-based detail.  A motorcycle escort is not a time-based detail.

The ordinance defined “Major Special Events” to include events held at the Convention Center, Fair Grounds, Mahalia Jackson, New Orleans Arena, Saenger, Superdome, and Lakefront Arena with an expected attendance of at least 2,000 people.  Major Special Events are exempted from the rotation requirement.

Holiday/High Demand premiums of $17/hr (which will all go to the officer working the detail) will be charged on New Year’s Day, MLK Day, Mardi Gras, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Lundi Gras, Friday after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve.

The rates were set.  They can be found on this document.  The $17/hr premium will be added to the amounts on this chart.  The OPSE fee will not change.

The fee charged by OPSE to administer details will be 15% or $5.00/hr whichever is less.  The fee is capped at $5.00/hr.  This fee can be waived by ordinance of the City Council.  Exceptions to the pay scale can be made by ordinance of the City Council.

Any fees collected by the OPSE which are not spent on the administration of the OPSE will be returned to the officers who worked details in an amount proportional to the amount of detail hours worked.

There can be special rates of pay for details requiring special certifications.  For example, K-9 handlers, bomb techs, and divers may command a detail rate commensurate with their level of training.

Officers can agree to work a detail for an amount lower than the pay scale for pre-existing details.  For example, if you currently work a detail for Mom and Pop Restaurant for $20/hr., you can continue to do that if you wish.

The amendments that were deleted today are lined out on this document.  In effect, the amendments were to remove options for the City Council to waive the rotation requirement and protections for the special taxing districts.  This does not necessarily mean that Lakeview and Mid City will fall under the OPSE, but it does exist as a possibility.  We will be staying on top of this issue to try to get that amendment protecting the special taxing districts reintroduced.

You may have some questions after reading this.  You are welcome to ask.  I don’t know if we will have an answer yet, but if we do, we will share it.  There are plenty of things that remain to be seen with this OPSE plan.  We will keep you updated as much as possible.

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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.

FOP in the News – Federal appeals court orders temporary stay of NOPD consent decree | NOLA.com

Federal appeals court orders temporary stay of NOPD consent decree | NOLA.com.

Letter from FOP President Walter Powers, Jr.

Brothers and Sisters:

I come before you with concern. There has been word about boycotting the Jazz Festival. This would be premature. Let me explain.

We are engaged in a dispute over how paid details will be administered. Like any dispute, there are stages. We are currently in the “Boots on the Ground” stage. The FOP has engaged in diplomatic efforts. We have attempted to influence negotiations at every turn. The FOP filed an Intervention in Federal Court in an effort to participate in the negotiations. The Judge ruled against us. We have appealed that decision and the appeal is still pending.

The FOP has met with Lt. Col. Salomone to discuss paid detail policies. What we found was a retired Army officer who was tasked with implementing the terms of the Consent Decree. I understand he will continue to work toward that goal until he has different marching orders.

If police officers boycott the Jazz Fest, the organizers simply will hire deputies or security guards and NOPD will supplement coverage with officers on city rolls. A boycott may send a message, but what will we accomplish?

Let’s take the best case scenario. If enough people participate and the Jazz Fest is adversely impacted, the message will be delivered loud and clear that the rank and file are dissatisfied with the proposed plan for paid details. Where would that leave us? The Consent Decree would still be in place with provisions on how paid details will be administered — you don’t think Judge Morgan really cares whether or not you work details, do you?

I am not suggesting we give up. What I am suggesting is that we look at risk versus reward. The risk seems unusually high and the reward unusually low. We still have other options.

As I mentioned earlier, we are in the “Boots on the Ground” phase. We need to mobilize troops and attack points of weakness. In order to facilitate the new paid detail plan, it will be necessary for the Office of Police Secondary Employment to convince our City Council to pass two ordinances. The OPSE will not be able to function at all without these ordinances. That is a point of weakness that presents us with an opportunity.

The current plans for the OPSE present numerous legal questions — questions the City Council will want answered. The FOP has been engaged in discussions with the City Council regarding those questions. We know that the two ordinances will be presented for consideration at the upcoming meeting of the City Council Budget Committee on April 9th. We need your boots on the ground.

I can promise you that the FOP Board will be present at the Budget Committee meeting. I can also promise that the FOP lawyers will be there ready to argue our position. We have been preparing and we are up for the fight. What we will need is you. It is one thing if our Board and hired guns make arguments and it is another thing if you, the people directly affected, are present — even if you leave the speaking to us.

What is the risk? None. What is the reward? The Council could make it very difficult for OPSE to move forward. As an added bonus, our nuclear option of detail boycotts will still be available if we need it.

Think about it like this. North Korea recently threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. They engaged in no diplomacy and have no boots on the ground. What have they accomplished? The United States is not concerned. Other countries with embassies in North Korea aren’t even evacuating. The world is simply looking and wondering why they would do something so stupid. Unless you are Kim Jung Un the nuclear option is rarely the best option.

If you want to make a statement, show up at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in a show of force – on behalf of those who want to keep the public safe and receive a fair wage without adding extra expenses to those who hire detail officers. Work the Jazz Festival. Talk to the citizens and visitors. Work your normal details and ask your detail employers to come to the City Council meeting and share their opinions. Write your elected officials and tell them how the Office of Police Secondary Employment will move us backward and not forward.

We hope you will join us on April 9th at 10:00 a.m. at City Hall for the City Council Budget Committee meeting. We also urge you to come to the FOP meeting on April 11th at 6:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Rosary School cafeteria, located at 1342 Moss St. We will be discussing strategies and options.

Walter Powers, Jr.

President

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