Elections for NOPD chief? A new commission could reconfigure New Orleans law enforcement


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NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison in March 2015. - CHERYL GERBER
  • NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison in March 2015.

A Baton Rouge-bred commission could reorganize New Orleans law enforcement in the future, including the merging of the police and sheriff departments. State Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, has filed a bill to create the Orleans Parish Law Enforcement Streamline and Accountability Commission, which would be tasked to determine the feasibility of merging the New Orleans Police Department with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, as well as calling an election for NOPD chief and whether the city's law enforcement effectively "meets the needs of its residents and visitors." The commission calls for 11 members, including the mayor, City Council members and the Inspector General, among others. The commission would meet every other month, with at least two meetings in New Orleans a year. After its meetings, the commission will draft a "detailed investigation and analysis" and make recommendations to the state Legislature.

Morrell also filed a measure to create the Law Enforcement Management District of Orleans Parish to “facilitate cooperative endeavor agreements and memorandums of understanding between or among the various agencies having law enforcement jurisdiction” in the city in order to “provide better police protection.” Its board membership would include the mayor, City Council members, officers from local universities, and levee and port police, among other law enforcement groups in the city.

The bills are the latest in Morrell’s ambitious 2015 lineup, which also includes measures to strengthen sex education in New Orleans and streamline procedures for sexual assault prosecution on college campuses. Morrell also will debut a weekly a podcast series on his website to air during each week of this year’s legislation session.


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