#OfficerDown #Signal108 #LODD #EnoughisEnough #FOP

 

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nopd mourning badgeWhenever we hear about a police officer killed in the line of duty, there is a shudder that runs through the law abiding community. When the officer is someone you know, the impact is much more personal.  Today, we learned that New Orleans Police Department Officer Daryle Holloway had been shot and killed while most folks in New Orleans were still shaking the cobwebs loose after a night’s rest.  Officer Holloway was a well-respected, veteran member of the New Orleans Police Department. He was also a father.

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Get Your Recruiting Bonus

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The other day, I wrote an article entitled “JoinNOPD – Unique Opportunities Abound.” This article was geared toward anyone who was thinking about joining the NOPD. If you think about it, there really are plenty of opportunities which have been created by the lack of manpower. There are certainly plenty of opportunities compared to when I was on the job. When the administration decides that they need to build up the Tactical platoons or the Motorcycle platoons, there will be a good number of spots available. This will happen eventually, but the NOPD needs to do some hiring first.

In any event, I know that there are some folks who have a difficult time discussing anything positive about the job these days. There are plenty of issues we face on a daily basis which are troubling, disheartening, or downright unsafe. The thing we hear about the most is the shortage of officers.

I have been affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police for quite a while now. For moreIMG_0698 than 10 years, I have been involved in the organization in some type of leadership capacity. While I have never held an elected position, I have been hands-on with the heavy lifting. I was very proud to be affiliated with the FOP when the National and State Lodges donated over $1.5 million worth of equipment, supplies and direct financial assistance to its members in Louisiana after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The Louisiana State Lodge, through a grant from the National FOP Foundation, was able to write a check for $500.00 to over 2300 police officers in south Louisiana, including 1200 members of the New Orleans Police Department. I have been proud to be an FOP member on far too many occasions to mention – we provided Andres Gonzales with an attorney specializing in Workers katrina suppliesCompensation after he was shot, helping him navigate the process of having his home rebuilt to wheelchair specifications.  We provided that same assistance to John Passaro after he was shot. Last year alone we provided over $44,000.00 in direct financial assistance to New Orleans police officers injured on duty or administratively reassigned pending investigations of job related actions. The FOP paid for the defense of the majority of the Danziger and Glover defendants, as well as providing an attorney to the 80+ police officers interviewed or called as witnesses in those cases. We continue to provide an attorney to every member finding himself, or herself the target of a criminal investigation, a civil litigation, or a disciplinary investigation.

The reason I bring all this up is not to brag on the FOP (although it would certainly be worth bragging about), but to say that my experience tells me that we have to do more than bitch about the things we do not like. The manpower situation is dangerous. It is dangerous for the men and women of the NOPD and it is dangerous for the citizens and visitors of New Orleans. It is easy to complain about and easy to point to examples of why it is bad, and who is to blame.

We can complain and wait for someone else to take steps to make it better or we can complain and take steps to make it better ourselves. We may not be able to fix the problem by ourselves, but we can contribute to the effort in some tangible way to make it better. Whether we like the current Mayor or not, the only ill-effects he experiences as a result of our dangerous situation is that his stolen car isn’t recovered as quickly as it might be otherwise.

So, we can bitch about it and expect someone else to do the work or we can bitch about it and contribute to a solution. The first step is to become more involved as an FOP member.

The New Orleans Police Department needs new hires and lateral transfers. While NOPJF is doing a good job, the best recruiters for a police department are its current officers. In addition, current officers stand to make an extra $1,000 for recruiting new officers (as long as you are not assigned to Recruiting).

How do you make $1,000 for recruiting new officers? Once you have convinced someone they should consider applying to the New Orleans Police Department, FullSizeRender (1)they will need to visit www.joinnopd.org to do so. When they click on Apply Online Now, they will be brought to an application. On the application, there is a space for the name of the NOPD officer referring the applicant. If the individual is hired, the referring officer receives $500.00 when the newly hired officer starts the Academy. The referring officer receives an additional $500 when the newly hired officer is promoted to Police Officer I. Easy enough?

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The Fraternal Order of Police is calling on its members to help the New Orleans Police Department out of its manpower crisis by talking to friends and family members about joining the NOPD. There might just be $1000.00 in it for you…. I do not think that anyone has taken advantage of this opportunity as of yet. You can be the first…

JoinNOPD – Unique Opportunities Abound

untitled (3)Manpower in the New Orleans Police Department is at historic lows.  There are currently somewhere around 1,100 commissioned members of the NOPD, if you include the recent academy graduates who are currently in field training.  There are two other academy classes currently ongoing and the NOPD is budgeted to hire another 150 officers in 2015.  The Fraternal Order of Police has been at the forefront of this issue, pushing for hiring and pay raises when a hiring freeze was first put in place in the beginning of Mayor Landrieu’s tenure.  Today, business leaders and the public have gotten involved calling for a fix to this crisis, adding new officers and keeping experienced veterans.

For job hunters considering a career in law enforcement, the manpower crisis in New Orleans translates to opportunity.  It will take decades to undo the staffing problems created by years of neglecting recruitment and retention, so these opportunities are not likely to disappear any time soon.

The New Orleans Police Department serves an urban population of about 380,000 anduntitled is the center of a metropolitan area with a population of 1.2M.  New Orleans is home to the world-famous French Quarter and the equally famous Bourbon Street.  New Orleans is the home of world-class events and festivals such as Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  New Orleans has hosted 10 NFL Super Bowl games (tied with Miami for most Super Bowls).  Somewhere around 9 Million people visit New Orleans annually from all parts of the world.  The New Orleans Police Department is widely acknowledged for its crowd control prowess.

The New Orleans Police Department is made up of a patrol function, investigative function, and support functions.  With the exception of full-time air support, the New Orleans Police Department has all of the police functions one would expect from a modern, big city police department.  All of these specialized units, something that most aspiring law enforcement professionals might be interested in, are suffering from the same manpower shortages that the rest of the department is suffering from.  This means opportunity for those interested in pursuing this aspect of a law enforcement career.

IMG_1309-0In addition to the possibilities created by the lack of manpower, the New Orleans Police Department has experienced a rebirth of sorts.  In 2013, the City of New Orleans became a party to a federal consent decree.  The consent decree, while unearned, has created a situation where significant changes are required to be implemented.  The loss of manpower is a common side-effect of these consent decrees.  The Feds are happy to see the old guard call it a day so that a significant portion of the department employees are consent decree employees.  This also creates opportunity for the newly hired with ambition — opportunities to move into leadership positions and develop policy.

Current entry-level NOPD salaries are generally competitive in southeast Louisiana and in other areas of the country.  There is much work to do with regard to NOPD salaries.  The Fraternal Order of Police stands ready to continue to fight for what are truly competitive salaries.  So, while the New Orleans Police Department’s salaries do not match up beyond the entry-level salaries, the public is aware and on our side.  The Civil Service Commission had recommended a 20% raise.  The groundwork has been laid and all roads lead to more substantial raises.  The Fraternal Order of Police has been there and will be hard at work until these raises become a reality.

The New Orleans Police Department needs new officers and lateral transfers.  The people of New Orleans are clamoring for new officers and lateral transfers.  The opportunities available to members of the New Orleans Police Department and those that join the New Orleans Police Department are unusual.  People considering a career in law enforcement and potential lateral transfers would benefit by taking advantage of these opportunities and placing a bet that the Fraternal Order of Police and the people of New Orleans will prevail upon our elected officials to raise pay to a truly competitive level.

Please take the time to visit WWW.JOINNOPD.ORG for more information and to complete an application.

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NOPD Disciplinary System Update

A quick update:

It appears the number of DI-1 investigations are up significantly. As most NOPD personnel are likely aware, most investigations are being conducted by division supervisors. The consent decree requires that investigations involving allegations of criminal misconduct, unreasonable use of force, discriminatory policing, false arrest or planting evidence, untruthfulness/false statements, unlawful search, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, and theft must be conducted by PIB personnel as opposed to division supervisors.

Paragraph 399 of the consent decree indicates that internal investigations must be allegation based as opposed to being based on the anticipated outcome. The NOPD has interpreted this as meaning they must investigate every complaint as described by the complainant, no matter how ridiculous the complaint may be on its face.

The body worn cameras have paid some dividends in a few cases. There have been several allegations made against officers that have been clearly and unequivocally discounted based on body worn camera evidence. Paragraph 400 of the consent decree limits the circumstances that an investigation can be classified as NFIM (no formal investigation merited) to complaints contesting traffic citations, complaints about delay in police services, complaints about off duty civil matters, or if the person complained about does not work for NOPD. The NOPD has interpreted that to mean that absent those limited circumstances, a full investigation, including statements, etc., must be conducted even if there is video evidence exonerating the officer. It was my suggestion, on behalf of the FOP, that paragraph 400 of the consent decree would allow the NOPD to assess video evidence and assign a formal disposition at the intake stage if warranted. This would serve to reduce the workload of division supervisors. This would also reduce the amount of time that officers, who would normally be serving the public, would be off the street tending to unsubstantiated complaints.

In addition to increasing the efficiency of the disciplinary system, this plan should also include referring cases proven to be false through video evidence for investigation as to whether the complainant violated La. R.S. 14:133.5 relative to Filing a False Complaint Against a Law a Enforcement Officer and referred for prosecution. The officer should also be made aware of any complaint proven to be false to allow the officer to pursue civil remedies if he or she chooses.

The Fraternal Order of Police provides legal representation to its members as a benefit of membership. With complaints up and more and more people with different motivations and interests participating in the internal investigation process, it is more important than ever to take advantage of these legal services. It is best to call as soon as you learn of the existence of a complaint. Sometimes an officer is notified of a pending complaint and sometimes an officer does not find out until they receive a notice of an extension hearing at Civil Service. In any event, an officer can contact me directly or Jim Gallagher, our Legal Committee Chairman, regarding the legal services provided by the FOP. The FOP is committed to protecting the rights of its members under all circumstances, minor or serious.

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#NOPD: Over the Precipice

NOPD: Over the Precipice

It will take over 40 years to return to full strength

The New Orleans Police Department has gone over the precipice. We may be beyond the point of return. And the blame rests clearly at the feet of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas. They were both forewarned.

In February 2011, the Fraternal Order of Police issued the first hue and cry about the NOPD manpower crisis. For three years, in every news story and interview possible, we have repeated the mantra….”Manpower….Manpower…Manpower”. We have advocated the repeal of the domicile ordinance and we have opposed the tattoo policy. We have asked that the focus be turned to retention and the recruitment of fully trained, post certified lateral police officers.

In February 2011 there were 1415 commissioned New Orleans police officers.

Today, there are 1135 sworn officers – counting from Superintendent down to Field Recruit. Over 100 of those are unable to perform their duties due to serious injury, long-term illness or administrative reassignment.

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Great Place to Work (At least it used to be…)

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has submitted a request to the Civil Service Commission that it consider 32 rule changes at its April 21, 2014 meeting.  This is the second attempt to “reform” the civil service system in New Orleans.

Former Civil Service Commissioner Jerry Davis posted the following comment on NOLA.COM regarding the proposed changes:

From the moment Landrieu began packing the Civil Service Commission with his sycophants and cronies, the handwriting was on the wall. As a Tulane graduate, I will never forgive Scott Cowen for his perfidy in surrendering his appointment power; the body which ultimately resulted has completely violated its duty to enforce the basic elements of the merit system. (Full disclosure: I am a forty-year veteran of the Civil Service Department, and had the honor of serving on the Commission before its ‘reinvention’.)

The basic lies about the Civil Service process are repeated in Landrieu’s arguments for this change:

1. Department heads’ authority – whenever vacancies occur, the department heads have always been consulted about the appropriate qualifications; they are also asked to provide updated lists of duties to be performed. Many executives, especially in the current administration cannot be bothered to provide accurate job descriptions or take the time to consider appropriate qualifications – preferring instead, to borrow and paraphrase Mr. Justice Potter Stewart’s description of pornography, “I’ll know the proper qualifications when I see them in an applicant.”

2. Flexibility in hiring and promotion – department heads have always had the authority to move beyond the ‘Rule of 3’ by passing over a person three times, or documenting reasons.

The losers in this seizure of power are of course the citizens and loyal employees of New Orleans – both as taxpayers who will pay the inevitable costs of turnover, retraining and incompetent service, and as applicants, who will not gain the positions they aspire to because they have not kissed the proper rings.

And so we are condemned to learn again the lessons of the 1880s, when the novel concept of merit in hiring for government service was born.

Civil Service was the reform.  Louisiana thought so highly of the civil service system that it included it in the Louisiana Constitution so that it could only be removed by a vote of the people as opposed to legislators who might want to return to the days of the spoils system.  Mayor Landrieu’s proposed changes erode the foundation of that reform that was so thoughtfully introduced years ago.

Mayor Landrieu would have you believe that his proposals are merely “modernizing” ciivil service.  As former Commissioner Davis points out, implementation of this plan will violate the basic tenets of the merit system.

The Administration underestimated the opposition the first time around.  This time, it is clear that Mayor Landrieu is “all in” on jamming these “reforms” down the throats of his civil servants.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with these issues.  They will be considered at the April 21, 2014 meeting of the Civil Service Commission.  More information to follow.

Mayor Landrieu’s propaganda can be found here.  Take it for what it is worth.

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#LAFOP Endorses @CynthiaHMorrell for #NOLA City Council. @lafop @fopno #FOP #FOPNO

FOP ENDORSES CYNTHIA HEDGE-MORRELL

FOR NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL 

At its winter meeting on Saturday, January 18, 2014, the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police Board of Directors voted to endorse Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell for Councilmember-At-Large Division 2 in the 2014 election for New Orleans City Council.

With two sons serving on the New Orleans Police Department, Councilmember Hedge-Morrell is keenly aware of the issues facing law enforcement in New Orleans.

Councilmember Hedge-Morrell has proven throughout her years of service that she is willing to take bold steps to improve both the safety of New Orleanians and those who visit New Orleans and the lives of New Orleans Police Officers. We expect that her dedication to New Orleans, the region, and the State of Louisiana will continue once re-elected.

The Fraternal Order of Police encourages everyone to vote for Cynthia-Hedge-
Morrell, Councilmember-At-Large, Division 2, Saturday, February 1, 2014.

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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 – NOPD touts lower violent crime numbers in beginning of 2013; but some property crimes tick up

NOPD touts lower violent crime in beginning of 2013; but some property crimes tick up