Some NOPD officers may boycott French Quarter Fest work - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Some NOPD officers may boycott French Quarter Fest work

New Orleans, La. -

Some members of the Police Association of New Orleans consider boycotting paid detail work at French Quarter Fest this weekend. The officers say they're upset with the way the city is handling the paid detail program.

The French Quarter Fest is one of the largest free music festivals in the city. NOPD officers usually patrol the area to keep festival goers safe. But just last week at a PANO meeting, officers discussed possibly boycotting the event.

Attorney Eric Hessler explains why, saying, "I think it was discussed to show the city how important it is to the city that the officers work details."

Hessler says officers are angry about how the city plans to handle paid details. The city is trying to establish a new office to oversee the work and wants to set up pay scales and rates for the officers. Hessler says PANO has tried talking to the city about their concerns, but their worries fall on deaf ears.

"The police officers simply feel this administration doesn't listen to anything they say and it's pretty much true," Hessler said.

That's why officers at the meeting last week came up with a plan that would get the city's attention with a potential boycott.

Along with PANO, members of the Fraternal Order of Police have been mulling over the idea of boycotting Jazz Fest. FOP President Walter Powers, Jr. recently sent a letter to members, dissuading them from boycotting -- but FOP attorney Raymond Burkart says it's still an option the association is considering.

"Prudence dictates that we explore all legal options, that we explore all diplomatic options. That is a nuclear option, it is not off the table but it is not the first and foremost option," Burkart explained.

Both Burkart and Hessler agree, their officers don't want to boycott and give up lucrative detail money, but they also want to send the city a strong message. They're hoping to do so Tuesday morning at a City Council committee meeting, where the paid detail program will be discussed by council members.

A spokesman for the city says, "The French Quarter Festival and other major events offer extra work and extra money to NOPD officers who are not on the City's clock. Paid details are privileges. We have worked hard over the past few years to come up with a paid detail plan that makes the system fairer and more transparent for all officers as well as the public. The Office of Police Secondary Employment will continue to work with all parties through these initial test phases."

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