New Cops, New Thugs

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By: Allen Johnson

Addressing the first New Orleans Police Academy class to graduate since the murder of Officer Nicola Cotton three months ago, NOPD Deputy Chief Anthony Cannatella told 30 new officers they would face a “new type of criminal” on the city’s streets. Cannatella, a 41-year veteran of the NOPD, said the freshly minted cops would encounter offenders who were “more violent and more dangerous” than those ever encountered by most of NOPD’s senior commanders during their own patrols. Police Chief Warren Riley later said Recruit Class No. 160 received “much more” training in self-defense than previous classes as well as “take-down tactics” and instruction in the use of Mace, Tasers and police batons. “They have always fought in the academy, it’s just more intense, and they fight on a more regular basis,” Riley says. New Officer Stephanie Horak, 24, a native of Nebraska, joined NOPD after four post-Katrina trips here as a Christian relief organizer. “I learned a lot from the defensive tactics,” says Horak, the top academic graduate who also holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Missouri State University. Horak’s first assignment is the tough Sixth Police District — where Cotton worked when she was shot to death with her own gun by a mental patient on Jan. 28. 

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