It's been another crappy week for the New Orleans Police Department:
An officer arrested for hit and run and an FBI probe of two officers accused of an insurance scam; and, today, suicide by one of those officers.
We don't need a poll or survey to tell us that public confidence and employee morale in the New Orleans Police Department are at, near or well beyond their all-time lows.
Seems like the only division within the department not universally feared, mistrusted or reviled is the canine unit, constitutionally incapable of corruption, misdeed or mendacity.
And that sucks. Really sucks if you're one of the good guys.
But how do you tell who the good guys are anymore?
The latest jolt to the system doesn't make it any clearer.
In a stunning departure from protocol, an unidentified and indeterminate number of cops from the rank and file joined the disaffected masses this week, proclaiming their own dissatisfaction with the department in an open letter to the residents of New Orleans.
It's an extraordinarily blunt and sincere document that enumerates complaints about restrictive administrative policies. The letter is much too long and detailed to go into here – please view it at FOX8live.com
– but perhaps its most extraordinary element is its appeal to us, the public, to make our voices heard in support of these matters.
Us, whom I had come to see in recent years as the objects of most police officers' mutual disdain.
The timing of all this is, of course, sublime, here at the crux of Carnival season when, basically, you've got to respect our cops' dedication, admire their stamina and, quite frankly, thank them for making the season possible.
Historically, most officers loathe Mardi Gras – the mandatory compliance, the brutal hours, the tedium of parade duty, the widespread intoxication and unrelenting chaos.
But they do it.
They show up and do it.
This include cops who wrote that letter and cops who didn't. The “good” cops and “bad,” though the distinction strikes me as more muddled than ever right now.
Either way, if and when something bad should go down near you – if and when trouble finds you - count your lucky beads these men and women who wear the crescent shield – all of them - are on the beat.