The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the city's largest police officers' association, today submitted to federal court a memorandum in support of the City of New Orleans' motion to void the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) federal consent decree. In it FOP argues that the city has already addressed many of the department's most serious problems without federal intervention. Moreover, the memorandum says, the city would be better off using the tens of millions it would have to commit to the consent decree to improve the department by increasing manpower and replacing equipment.
"The FOP also believes that the City is better off without the Consent Decree," it says.
The memorandum goes on to say that the U.S. Department of Justice is mistaken in its belief that constitutional policing is not taking place now.
"Since the commencement of the tenure of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Superintendent of Police Ronal Serpas the NOPD has become a vastly different department than the one that was studied by the DOJ," it reads. Supt. Serpas has already instituted many of the reforms called for in the Consent Decree. "No one is saying that all of the Consent Decree components have been adopted but many have and it is obvious that the this mayor and police chief are committed to reform."
(More after the jump)
The FOP, like the city, brings former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone into its argument. Perricone worked with the city and the feds on consent decree negotiations before he resigned last year.
FOP: "We know today that Mr. Perricone held deep-seated animosities toward the New Orleans Police Department and its leadership; has been credited with coining the phrase “aorta of corruption” as relates to the NOPD Paid Detail system; and, in the words of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, “poisoned” the consent decree negotiations."
Finally and most importantly, FOP argues, the agreement will place an undue financial burden on the city.
"Perhaps the biggest reason to abandon the Consent Decree is cost. The latest estimate is that implementation will cost the City of New Orleans more than $55 million over the next five years. The City is in desperate need of more police officers to patrol its streets. The NOPD is down to fewer than 1250 commissioned officers, with nearly 100 of those out ill, injured, or administratively reassigned. Its officers are sorely in need of training. It needs to upgrade its equipment and its fleet. Much of its technology is out of date. The City would be much better off utilizing those limited funds to improve the police department. Whatever limited financial resources that are available should be spent on core needs."
Read the FOP's filing: FOPConsent.pdf