Forward New Orleans releases progress report

'Forward New Orleans' progress report for elected officials

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A new report shows elected officials fulfilled fewer than 50 percent of the commitments they made last year. The coalition Forward New Orleans looked at whether city leaders fulfilled their pledge to increase NOPD manpower and eliminate blight, among other issues.

"It was born out of several years of anger and frustration. There was a citizen revolution that was back in 2009," said Forward new Orleans member Greg Rusovich.

Twenty-five civic, neighborhood and business organizations united to create the coalition. Together they designed a platform of detailed mandates for the city.

"I don't know of any other national effort in the city that had just continued like this. We hold city leaders accountable," Rusovich said.

Elected officials were called in and asked to sign a document in 2014, basically pledging results. Crime was the number one issue.

"One of the things we found is we requested at that time, right after the 2014 elections, is that they give us a plan on how they were going to increase NOPD manpower," Rusovich said.

With a  critically low number of commissioned NOPD officers, Rusovich said Forward New Orleans knew something had to be done. Still, he said the organization never received a plan from the elected officials about how to fix the problem.

"There's now a plan in place to progress manpower, but it's going to be a long time and coming. We're not going to fix this overnight," Rusovich said.

As FOX 8 first reported in a Lee Zurik investigation, it takes the NOPD on average one hour and 13 minutes to respond to a call for help, and response times are affected by the number of officers on the force.

"Manpower is just going too slow. There are too many bureaucratic hurdles. We need to remove them and we need to speed up the process," Rusovich said.

Blighted property around the city is also a big issue. The coalition requested a neighborhood coordinator who would act as a liaison between the city and the people who live in that community.

"We give them an X on that. They have not put a neighborhood coordinator in place. It's something that is an easy win and we need to have it," Rusovich said.

Rusovich is hoping the elected officials will use the findings moving forward to work with the various organizations for change.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.