Press release: NOPD officers' association will not boycott Jazz Fest

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Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) president Michael Glasser writes in an email that his group will not boycott security details at the upcoming New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as a protest of a proposed overhaul to the New Orleans Police Department's off-duty detail system.

"The idea has merit, and may yet be one which the rank and file may choose to pursue," Glasser writes. "However, the recent terrorist attack in Boston underscores the vulnerability we have as Americans, and especially in places of major public events attended by large crowds. Nowhere is this more common and more prevalent than in New Orleans."

(Read the full email after the jump)

The issue of exactly how to administer the new paid detail system in New Orleans remains in a state of flux. In frustration, many officers suggested boycotting the upcoming events, most specifically the Jazzfest, to demonstrate the level of concern and the impact that NOPD Details has on the success of these events and the safety of the citizens of New Orleans and its many visitors. The idea has merit, and may yet be one which the rank and file may choose to pursue. However, the recent terrorist attack in Boston underscores the vulnerability we have as Americans, and especially in places of major public events attended by large crowds. Nowhere is this more common and more prevalent than in New Orleans.

As such, it would be a mistake to press this opportunity at the expense of public safety. It is, and must, be the position of the Police Association of New Orleans, that public safety, especially in the wake of terrorist activity, trumps political and employment issues. We therefore encourage all members of the NOPD to participate in whatever venue is appropriate, on duty and off-duty details, to ensure maximum coverage for the protection of those who reside in or visit our city.

There are requisites outlined in the Consent Decree which we opposed at the time of conception and vehemently argued as a gross mischaracterization of the facts and utter fabrication on the part of unscrupulous members of the local U.S. Attorney's office. Nonetheless, it was included in the Consent Decree and we're stuck with some aspects of change. The exact mechanism of change remains somewhat malleable and as such, it is within the purview of the City Council, which controls the Office of Police Secondary Employment (OPSE), and the Department of Justice, which controls a large partner the Consent Decree.

We have requested that Mr. John Salomone, Director of the OPSE, address the members of the NOPD (not just PANO) to answer questions which are relevant and necessary to the decision-making process. Thus far, we've gotten no response. We have met with representatives of the DOJ as recently as yesterday to put forth the concerns of the officers and correct the misrepresentations made by Mr. Perricone. We have met with members of the City Council, both personally and in the form of written submissions, to further impress upon them the true issues and best and most equitable way of forming this policy. They have been generally receptive, but with an issue so important to the livelihood of some many officers, it has become both frustrating and frightening to the rank and file members of the NOPD who count on these details to survive the pitifully low pay we have always endured. The issue of the administration of paid details remains a priority issue which we will not forget or ignore, to extent that litigation is a likely consequence to unfair and inequitable practices. For now, let's turn our attention to the citizens of Boston and the citizens of New Orleans.

Mike Glasser
PANO President

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