Mayor Mitch Landrieu has released a statement on the approval of the NOPD consent decree today:
“It is crystal clear that the City cannot afford a multi-million dollar police consent decree and at the same time a multi-million dollar prison consent decree this year. Because we have demonstrated our full commitment to reforming the NOPD, today we asked the judge to hold off on executing the police consent decree until the price tag of the prison consent decree is clear.
“The Orleans Parish Prison consent decree may cost $17 million, which is not budgeted for this year and would therefore bankrupt the City. If a federal judge ordered the City to pay $17 million, we would need to furlough every City employee, including police officers, for 28 days. It makes no sense to furlough or lay off police officers to give pay raises to prison guards.
“Let me be clear. We are reforming the New Orleans Police Department and we have not waited on the Department of Justice or a consent decree to begin our reform of the department. Since taking office in May 2010, we have made major reforms to the NOPD homicide bureau, the K-9 unit, sex crime investigations, use of force investigations, community policing and hiring and training practices, among others included in the consent decree. Come hell or high water, we will continue to reform the police department.
“As Mayor, I am responsible for the taxpayers’ check book. We simply cannot commit to spending taxpayer money we do not have.”