By: Allen Johnson
Addressing the first New Orleans Police Academy class to graduate since the murder of Officer Nicola Cotton three months ago, NOPD Deputy Chief Anthony Cannatella told 30 new officers they would face a new type of criminal on the citys streets. Cannatella, a 41-year veteran of the NOPD, said the freshly minted cops would encounter offenders who were more violent and more dangerous than those ever encountered by most of NOPDs senior commanders during their own patrols. Police Chief Warren Riley later said Recruit Class No. 160 received much more training in self-defense than previous classes as well as take-down tactics and instruction in the use of Mace, Tasers and police batons. They have always fought in the academy, its just more intense, and they fight on a more regular basis, Riley says. New Officer Stephanie Horak, 24, a native of Nebraska, joined NOPD after four post-Katrina trips here as a Christian relief organizer. I learned a lot from the defensive tactics, says Horak, the top academic graduate who also holds a bachelors degree in criminology from Missouri State University. Horaks first assignment is the tough Sixth Police District where Cotton worked when she was shot to death with her own gun by a mental patient on Jan. 28.