by Kevin Allman
There's been a lot written locally about NOPD chief Ronal Serpas as he's come under fire for his knowledge — or lack of knowledge — regarding the traffic camera paid-detail scheme. Now WSMV-TV, a station in Nashville, Tenn. — where Serpas served as chief of police before coming to New Orleans — has taken notice too:
It isn't the first time Serpas has been in trouble while serving with the New Orleans Police Department. While there in 1998, Serpas was reprimanded for his role in soliciting fake invoices for horse feed for the mounted patrol.
Channel 4 News anchor Demetria Kalodimos asked him about that before he left his job as chief in Nashville.
"Nobody made a penny. Nobody stole anything. All the property was found," Serpas said. "The chief of police at the time, Richard Pennington, said, 'You could have done a better job,' and I said, 'You're right; I could have, and I should have.'"
As the top cop in Nashville, Serpas presided over a department that consistently knocked down crime stats each year. He's brought many of the same ideas to the NOPD (Mission One patrols, an emphasis on vehicle pullovers, the COMSTAT program), not all of which were popular in Nashville, either.
Meanwhile, last night Serpas issued a statement in support of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's immediate suspension of 8th District Commander Edwin Hosli for Hosli's role in the paid details. Serpas' statement under the jump:
“I fully support Mayor Landrieu’s decision to suspend Edwin Hosli while the appropriate investigations continue. I am awaiting the findings.”
“If the investigation finds NOPD employees violated police department rules, I will swiftly and with complete transparency issue the appropriate sanctions, as has been my practice.”
“As directed by Mayor Landrieu, I have been working to implement key policy changes and initiatives to ensure that NOPD officers are effectively protecting and serving the citizens of New Orleans. We will continue to work with our federal and criminal justice partners to fully reform the department and restore public trust in NOPD. A key component to that effort is the transformation of the detail system.”
“Mayor Landrieu has directed me to submit a comprehensive plan to him by May 15. Paid detail policies will change to ensure the opportunity for officers to conduct these duties in a predictable and fully accountable way. However, the repair of details is only one part of the overall rebuilding plan initiated last year. There is still much work to be done, as we continue to rebuild the NOPD."