URGENT NOPD EMPLOYEES – Take-Home Vehicles

THE FOLLOWING IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR NOPD EMPLOYEES:

The New Orleans Police Department, like many other police departments, issues take-home vehicles to some employees.  In fact, the NOPD intends to expand the number of take-home vehicles in use by department employees soon.  Recently, the NOPD ordered the first 100 of 400 new police vehicles which will be issued to FTO’s and platoon personnel.  For those officers who are issued take-home vehicles or may be issued take-home vehicles in the future, it is imperative that these officers understand the City’s take-home vehicle policy or risk personal liability in connection with these vehicles.

CAO Policy Memorandum 5(R) states that the NOPD can assign marked take-home vehicles to officers who live in Orleans Parish and travel to and from work to that location in Orleans Parish.  Otherwise, officers must live in Orleans Parish and have less than a 40-mile commute and be available and regularly called out on a 24-hour basis (think unmarked cars for detectives).  CAO Policy Memo 5(R) further states that officer assigned take-home vehicles can only use these vehicles for official purposes, including details, with one big exception.  Officers assigned take-home cars are allowed to use these vehicles for personal use when they are incidental to driving to or from work.  In other words, an officer can stop at the cleaners on the way home to pick up clean uniforms, assuming the dry cleaners is not in Tangipahoa Parish.

City vehicles should not be used to perform personal business. However, in some instances, take-home vehicles may be used to perform incidental, personal errands outside the course and scope of City business, so long as the errands are conducted to and from work without significant deviation, are brief in nature, and do not detract from the employee’s activities as a public servant.

This leads to the BIG CATCH.  The City is self-insured.  As such, it regulates its own insurance policies in conjunction with state law.  With regard to take-home vehicles, if an officer uses the vehicle for personal use, including driving to and from details, the City WILL NOT PROVIDE INSURANCE COVERAGE OR REPRESENTATION in the event of an accident and a lawsuit.

Such limited personal use, while permitted, does not fall under any coverage provided by the City’s self-insurance program.

CAO Policy Memo 5(R) Sec. XVI, Paragraph F reads as follows:

Insurance: Each Department or Authorized External User, authorized by contract, will require that every employee with a take-home vehicle provide a copy of their current personal automobile insurance policy or their current personal non-owned automobile insurance policy to the Appointing Authority. It shall be the responsibility of each department to ensure that insurance policies or proof of insurance coverage are submitted as they are renewed. Copies shall be provided to the City’s Risk Manager.

 

Vehicle use outside the scope and purpose of employment by the City, whether permissible or not, is not covered by the City’s self-insurance program. [Note that Authorized External Users are not covered by the City’s self-insurance program – See Certificate of Insurance Letter] Every employee with a take- home vehicle must endorse their current Personal Automobile Policy to provide coverage for Non-Owned Autos, including Physical Damage Coverage and provide evidence of the coverage in force. Minimum personal automobile insurance coverages and limits required of employees with take-home autos are as follows:

 

i. Automobile Liability, Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability – Mandatory State Minimum Financial Responsibility Limits.
ii. Uninsured Motorist – No less than the Minimum Financial Responsibility limits, or your liability limits, whichever is greater.
iii. Comprehensive and Collision – Any deductibles will be the sole responsibility of the employee and will not be borne in any way by the City, for damage due to accidents outside the scope and purpose of employment by the City.
iv. Non-owned coverage including Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability and Physical Damage (“Comprehensive” and “Collision”).

 

Any employee with a take-home vehicle that does not own a personal vehicle or have a Person Automobile Insurance Policy in force must purchase a Personal Non-Owned Automobile Liability and Physical Damage Coverage (“Comprehensive and Collision”).

 

The Auto Liability limits shall be at least the Mandatory State Minimum Financial Responsibility Limits for bodily injury and property damage. Any deductibles will be the sole responsibility of the employee and will not be borne in any way by the City, for damage due to accidents outside the scope and purpose of employment by the City.

Police Officer Jason Samuel was involved in an automobile accident driving his take-home police car on November 14, 2010.  Officer Samuel was on his way home from a detail when, while sitting at a red light, his foot slipped off the brake and he struck the vehicle in front of him.  Fortunately for Officer Samuel, he was a member of the FOP Legal Defense Plan.  The City Attorney’s office advised Officer Samuel that they would not be representing him in connection with the lawsuit following this accident.  Officer Samuel’s insurance company told him the same thing.  Officer Samuel was ultimately represented by Tony Livaccari, Livaccari Law, through the FOP Legal Defense Plan.  While the FOP Legal Plan provided Officer Samuel an attorney, it did not pay the settlement in the matter.  Ultimately, that would end up costing Officer Samuel more than $5,000.00.

Police Officer Robert Ponson is in the same boat.  Officer Ponson was involved in an accident on the way home from a detail and was involved in an accident in his assigned take-home vehicle.  Officer Ponson was also advised that the City Attorney would not provide him with representation since he was on the way home from a detail.  His insurance company indicated the City should be representing him.  Again, the FOP Legal Plan will be providing representation for Officer Ponson.

It is imperative that officers who are assigned a take-home vehicle call their insurance agents or insurance companies and arrange for non-owned vehicle coverage.  Officers should make the situation perfectly clear.  If the insurance company does not write that coverage, then the officer needs to either get an additional non-owned vehicle policy, change insurance companies, or give the take-home vehicle back.

Officers have to understand that their personal assets are exposed should they get in an accident if they are not properly insured.  It is simply not worth the risk to operate a take-home vehicle if the security of the officer’s family is compromised.  Soon, the NOPD will be offering 400 take-home vehicles to officers who might not otherwise have the opportunity to be assigned a vehicle.  The temptation will be strong.  Leaving the car at the station is not an option if the car will be used to drive to and from details.  The bottom line is get the insurance or give the car back and make sure you belong to the FOP and the FOP Legal Defense Plan.

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#NOPD Superdome Detail

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UPDATE:  I have been informed that a pay raise for the Superdome detail is official.  The detail rate for the Superdome will increase by $5.00 per hour effective July 1, 2015 – just in time for the Essence Festival.  Click here to see the email announcing the increase.

Looking for a way to make a little extra money?  Don’t really feel like completing trip sheets feeling out hot spots?  Wouldn’t work for OPSE if the world was coming to an end?  Just completed field training and can only work supervised details?  There is an option.

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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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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.

Update on Paid Details and Promotions #NOPD #FOP @fopno

On Thursday, the Budget Committee for the New Orleans City Council met with funding for a sergeants exam and the proposed ordinances for the Office of Police Secondary Employment on its agenda.  Myself, Raymond Burkart, III, and Jim Gallagher were present on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police and its 1,100 active police officer members.

SERGEANTS EXAM

Fraternal Order of Police

Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant and Carey Grant introduced an ordinance to fund a sergeants exam.  Under the ordinance, $89,084 goes to the Civil Service Department for preparation and administration of a sergeants exam.  Andy Kopplin, representing the administration, suggested that the administration wanted to use a different source of funding for the sergeants exams, but were committed to funding an exam.  The Budget Committee passed the ordinance allotting the funds from the original source, giving the administration the option of presenting an alternative source of funding at the June 6, 2013 City Council Meeting.  One way or another, funding for a sergeants exam will be in front of the City Council at the June 6, 2013 meeting.  Click here to see the video.  Once you see the agenda, click on Ordinance No. 29,533.  The two ordinances are actually Nos. 29,548 and 29,549, but the video leads in to the right point.  Carey Grant, Andy Kopplin, Lisa Hudson, and Raymond Burkart speak on the matter.

DETAILS

Raymond Burkart, III argues on behalf of FOP

Raymond Burkart, III argues on behalf of FOP

The Office of Police Secondary Employment offered their two ordinances later in the meeting under Ordinance Nos. 29,470 and 29,471.  There was a Motion to Defer consideration by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell.  Ultimately, it was decided that the OPSE and the FOP would make their presentations and then the Chair would entertain a Motion to Defer if one were made.

The OPSE made their presentation.  A copy of the OPSE presentation can be found here.  There are no real surprises and I won’t attempt to summarize their presentation here.  Take a look at it.  It is interesting reading.  A copy of the OPSE budget for 2013-2015 can be found here.

The FOP made its presentation.  A copy of the FOP presentation can be found here.  Again, I am not going to bore people by recounting the whole presentation.  You can watch the video or check out the FOP presentation.

There were no additional speakers or presenters.

Following the meeting, the FOP sent this letter to City Council members, CAO Andy Kopplin, and OPSE Director John Salomone.

The letter summarizes the FOP’s position with regard to the reform of paid details.

The bottom line is that following the two presentations, Councilmember Hedge-Morrell made a Motion to Defer the two ordinances.  The Motion was seconded by Councilmember Head.  The meeting was adjourned immediately after.

These two ordinances that establish the detail pay scale and an enterprise fund through which detail money will be collected and paid, will be before the City Council Budget Committee again in the near future.

What does this mean in the big picture of things?  We are still standing in front of a moving train.  It is going to be difficult to stop it.  However, working with the City Council, the FOP is attempting to influence what we can in order to maximize the chances that officers will still be able to make their lives better for themselves and their families.  The letter we sent to members of the City Council summarizes our current position on paid detail matters.  We value input from members from the Fraternal Order of Police.  If you have suggestions on this, or any other, topic, please feel free to share them.

Working Man

The following was recently received from Sgt. George Waguespack, an active NOPD officer, in response to our recent Letter to the Editor regarding the planned changes to the NOPD detail system.

I would like to invite and encourage anyone who would like to share their thoughts on police details to submit something to be published. It can be about these so-called “reforms” or it can be your personal experience working paid details with how the detail impacted the community we serve. It could also be about how working paid details has impacted your family.

I would also like to strongly encourage anyone who works details to ask their detail employer to contribute their personal experiences with paid details and how it effected their business or event.

I will be happy to give the author credit for the article or post it anonymously at the author’s direction. Furthermore, I will refrain from editing (except maybe spacing for readability). You are welcome to submit something even if you do not work for NOPD. Email me or call me about submitting something — Donovan Livaccari dlivaccari@gmail.com; dal@livlaw.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.

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It is hard to believe that detail rates are being sent back to the last millennium.  The“department” prides itself on moving forward and becoming a model department for the rest of the country.  It is rather hard to move forward, when policies such as the detail policy takes us back 15 to 20 years, as far as the detail rate goes.  In my opinion, retention is one of the biggest challenges the NOPD faces today.  This new practice, along with the new residency requirement, will have a crippling effect on retention as well as hiring. 

I have worked details for 28 years as a means of financial survival and a way to provide the things my family, as well as I, deserve.  It was always a way to provide private education for my child, a way to buy a reliable, safe car my wife could drive, a way to go on vacations that I deserve, as a means to get away, de-stress and spend quality family time that is needed. 

All those years of working different shifts, being on unpaid call out and working details cause so many of us to sacrifice time away from home and family.  But, as a responsible man, I did what I had to do to provide for my family.  Working details was a decision I made, not always a popular decision, but a necessary one. 

We, as police officers, are called greedy and corrupt, by those who have no idea of what it takes to survive on the salary of a NOPD cop.  I am neither greedy, nor corrupt.  I am a man who is a professional police officer, a man who takes pride in his job and work, while giving my all to the department and the career I chose.  Details provide the opportunity to get some of the finer things in life, things which many people take for granted.  My working of details has never affected my performance on the job.  I know my limitations and have learned to balance the amount of details I can work, without it effecting my primary job’s performance. 

People in other jobs and careers who work a lot are called go-getters, hard-working people who want the best for their families and are looked up to for their drive, dedication and determination.  But we are called greedy and corrupt.  Well, walk in my shoes and you will see that I am no different from any other hard-working man. 

To think that in the dog hot days of the summer, as I sweat like a pig for hours in the sun on a construction site, or on a traffic control detail, or on another equally miserable detail, I have been reduced to $29.00 an hour, while $5.00 an hour is being taken from me by someone who does nothing.  And when I am freezing in the winter, I am losing the money I deserve and I earned, so $5.00 an hour can be removed from my pay.  I worked the detail, I deserve full pay for my efforts.

Yes, I used the word miserable when describing certain details.  Lest anyone think that I enjoy working details which cause me to be away from home and family.  For 28 years, I have had a dream of working one job, no details, no extra work, but that will not ever happen.  It is a fact of life that I have accepted.  Here is an easy solution.  Give me a 30% pay increase and you can keep the details.  That too, will never happen, so details will remain a vital part of my life

Sergeant George Waguespack

Click Here for Additional Articles on Paid Details

Click Here for Additional Articles on Paid Details

Parallels

The following was recently received from a retired NOPD officer in response to our recent Letter to the Editor regarding the planned changes to the NOPD detail system.

I would like to invite and encourage anyone who would like to share their thoughts on police details to submit something to be published. It can be about these so-called “reforms” or it can be your personal experience working paid details with how the detail impacted the community we serve. It could also be about how working paid details has impacted your family.

I would also like to strongly encourage anyone who works details to ask their detail employer to contribute their personal experiences with paid details and how it effected their business or event.

I will be happy to give the author credit for the article or post it anonymously at the author’s direction. Furthermore, I will refrain from editing (except maybe spacing for readability). You are welcome to submit something even if you do not work for NOPD. Email me or call me about submitting something — Donovan Livaccari dlivaccari@gmail.com; dal@livlaw.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.

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I have taken an excerpt from a comment of an anonymous Officer regarding the detail situation. The reason being that these comments perfectly describe the conditions upon which our Officers have to work Mission Two. Working an area that you may only see once a month or less frequently, puts one clearly in a disadvantage. It would be like taking an Officer from a district and assigning him to work in the Juvenile Office and telling him he has to learn how to fingerprint offenders without any training. And performing this duty only once a month at a time.

“This newly formed office will take officers who have worked neighborhood details providing security for years, out of those neighborhoods and different officers will be in their place. An officer who was working the same detail for years knows the neighborhood such as who lives there, what vehicles belong where, and they would know what is out of place. Whereas an officer new to the detail would have to learn this and meet the neighbors. This doesn’t make sense for community oriented policing, which I thought was a strategy the department was in favor of.”

On the subject of the new detail system, imagine what message could be sent to the city, if on the first home Saints’ game, no one showed up for the detail. Better yet, if no one showed up to work any detail for a week.

— NOPD Retired

Click Here for More Articles on Paid Details

Click Here for More Articles on Paid Details

Police Officer – Father

The following was recently received from an NOPD officer in response to our recent Letter to the Editor regarding the planned changes to the NOPD detail system.

I would like to invite and encourage anyone who would like to share their thoughts on police details to submit something to be published. It can be about these so-called “reforms” or it can be your personal experience working paid details with how the detail impacted the community we serve. It could also be about how working paid details has impacted your family.

I would also like to strongly encourage anyone who works details to ask their detail employer to contribute their personal experiences with paid details and how it effected their business or event.

I will be happy to give the author credit for the article or post it anonymously at the author’s direction. Furthermore, I will refrain from editing (except maybe spacing for readability). You are welcome to submit something even if you do not work for NOPD. Email me or call me about submitting something — Donovan Livaccari dlivaccari@gmail.com; dal@livlaw.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.

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I have been an Officer for 10 years, and I love my job! I also love the fact that I have an option of making extra money to provide my family with the things they deserve. The best schools, safest neighborhoods to live, etc. Those things come with a price, a price every real man, husband, and father, is willing to pay if it’s in the best interest of his family. Let’s forget I am a Police Officer, and say I work in the private industry. If I was to work an extra job or overtime to provide for my family then one would be looked at as a strong dedicated person or role model, but I am a police Officer who “should be focused only on being a police officer”, and not making extra money. Why is it because I’m an officer it’s corrupt? The details have been badly labeled by federal government employees who make six figure salaries. I have never made a six figure salary even when I’ve worked the total 24 hours of details allowed within a week.

The public has been persuaded by the media regarding this issue, and I don’t think they understand the NEED for an officer to have just a decent living by working extra hours. The comments I have come across on nola.com and other news sites are repulsive. Like it is with police work it’s now the same for details. With police work lots of people always tell me “thank you for what you do” and “I could never do your job”, but its the only profession where people have the need to tell you how you should do your job. You don’t tell a fireman how to put out a fire, a doctor how to treat a patient, or a barber how to cut hair.

In closing I work a detail 5 days a week for 3 hours a day and I still get home in time only to see my wife dressing them in their pajamas, and putting them in bed. I’m gone before they get up the next morning. I miss them so much everyday but they would not have the things they have without my steady detail. I’m just glad they love me as much as I love them and I hope I can still provide for them in the near future, because with this new detail plan there is just no certainty.

— Anonymous Officer

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Click Here for More Articles on Details and Detail Reforms

NOPD Spouse’s View on Details

The following was recently received from an NOPD officer’s spouse in response to our recent Letter to the Editor regarding the planned changes to the NOPD detail system.

I would like to invite and encourage anyone who would like to share their thoughts on police details to submit something to be published. It can be about these so-called “reforms” or it can be your personal experience working paid details with how the detail impacted the community we serve. It could also be about how working paid details has impacted your family.

I would also like to strongly encourage anyone who works details to ask their detail employer to contribute their personal experiences with paid details and how it effected their business or event.

I will be happy to give the author credit for the article or post it anonymously at the author’s direction. Furthermore, I will refrain from editing (except maybe spacing for readability). You are welcome to submit something even if you do not work for NOPD. Email me or call me about submitting something — Donovan Livaccari dlivaccari@gmail.com; dal@livlaw.com; 504-905-8280; or click Contact Me.

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I first want to start out saying that I married my husband knowing he was a police officer and what it means. I know that we won’t have a million dollar home or ever become wealthy because of his calling. I firmly believe that it isn’t just a job but a career and a calling. Okay with that being said these are my thoughts on the revamp.

My problems and or concerns about the paid detail revamp goes as such:  The first issue I have is that they are creating a new department (Department of Secondary work) to handle the details. How can you create a new department when you always threaten the police officers with an extra off day because the city doesn’t have enough money. The second is having to pay the city $5.00 an hour. For what the use of their guns and radios, oh wait that’s right they are creating a new department to handle the details

so that means they will use that money to pay those people. If the department would charge $2.00 an hour like Plaquemines does(which has been confirmed by a friend who works for Plaquemines) it wouldn’t be so bad BUT with Plaquemines everyone has a take home unit AND they are given their uniforms, gun belts, vest, etc…The break down for them is $1.00 an hour for use of the unit and $1.00 an hour for the other stuff. Yes, NOPD does give an uniform allowance, but that only covers about half if not less. My husband does not have a take home so he uses our vehicle and our gas. The third issue is the companies having to send the payment to the city and then the city will issue the checks, I don’t know about all of that. I mean really has anyone ever called personnel to get an explanation of their pay check. It is really scary because they can not explain it because they have no clue. So you mean to tell me that the police are suppose to be comfortable with this aspect. The fourth is the detail pay usually supplements their pay checks because of working in such a dangerous city you really need to have umpteen disability policies and life insurance or when the city decides to give an extra day of without pay in a pay period for any extended amount of time.

For my family the paid details help pay for my husband’s gas back and forth to work, lunches/dinners, our house note, our children’s school uniforms and supplies (they go to public school), and other bills if needed. It also goes for the last minute uniform requirements such as, but not limited to the traffic highlighter looking vest that we didn’t know about needing until about three days before the special event oh and don’t forget the whistle too.

Thank you for giving me a chance to share my grievances. I have many thoughts on other issues with the city and the department such as the domicile rule. I will be happy to share if you will be willing to listen.

— Anonymous Wife

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