New holding cell in NOPD 8th district station honors fallen officer

New holding cell in NOPD 8th district station honors fallen officer

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Located in the heart of the French Quarter, it is no surprise that a lot of very drunk prisoners pass through the NOPD's eighth district station.

Now, officers who walk the beat have a place to put those prisoners before they're picked up and taken to central lockup.

The NOPD unveiled a new holding cell inside the station, dedicated to the memory of eighth district Officer Alfred Celestain, killed by a drunk driver in the line of duty in 2010.

Prior to the installation of the cell, Commander Jeff Walls said his officers "would have to sit them on a bench or sit them in a chair. There was really no place to hold them or have them held in place."

The holding area will accommodate up to five people at a time.

"A lot of times they'll be belligerent. We just want to separate them from the officers coming in and out so they don't have issues," noted Walls.

Already informally known as "Celestain's cell," it is painted pink, the late officer's favorite color and one Walls said has a calming effect on the prisoners.

Officer Celestain's family members looked on as the drapes were pulled away from the cell's memorial designation and a portrait of Celestain by a local artist.

Walls described Celestain as an inspiration for a lot of officers.

"It's important to us that his memory carries on and is part of the station and will always be part of the station."

The holding area features video surveillance that will allow it to be monitored at all times.

The COPS8 organization paid for the long-sought-after renovation which is expected to cost about $15,000.

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