New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers made 443 arrests during the 2015 Carnival season, with officers working nearly 59,000 hours over 12 days, according to figures provided by NOPD. During the New Orleans City Council's Criminal Justice Committee meeting Feb. 25, the City Council honored NOPD officers who made quick arrests following a Feb. 12 shooting on St. Charles Avenue during the Krewe of Muses parade that left two people dead.
While commending the officers, District C Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell referenced a Feb. 24 Gambit editorial criticizing last year's Carnival safety legislation that went unenforced this year. "I actually learned in the Gambit that I am actually responsible for Carnival enforcement and safety. I didn't realize that," she said. "I'll never shy away from taking blame, but I'll never take credit for people who do the work on the ground."
NOPD Deputy Chief Bob Bardy said that every NOPD officer working parade routes was equipped with a body-mounted camera, and that elsewhere, one out of every two officers (those working with a partner) wore a camera. Bardy also said he met with Mardi Gras Indian chiefs and the Dollis and Montana families and has built a "great relationship" with the Indians, who in the past have had strained relations with the police.
"[We are] coming together, breaking bread and exchanging commitments," Bardy said. "I guess we smoked a peace pipe and it worked out well."
Despite the praise, citizen satisfaction of NOPD in 2015 has dropped 14 percent from 2014. A February survey from the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Coalition found less than half of New Orleanians (48 percent) are satisfied with the department, while only 41 percent of respondents said they feel safe outside their neighborhoods. The overall satisfaction rate is the third lowest since 2009, when only 33 percent of New Orleanians were satisfied with the department.