NOPD consent decree monitor, others react to AG Sessions call for review of consent decrees

NOPD consent decree monitor, others react to AG Sessions call for review of consent decrees

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The police department, a pro-police organization, the lead federal monitor for the NOPD consent decree and a local crime watchdog reacted Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' directive that the Justice Department reviews all federal police consent decrees. The federal consent decree under which the New Orleans Police Department has been operating for several years is a blueprint of reforms mandated after a DOJ investigation and years of allegations of unconstitutional policing.

In a memorandum to the DOJ, Sessions called for a review of consent decrees to make sure they are in line with President Donald Trump's commitments to law enforcement.

"The National FOP leadership met with the attorney general last week and they had a long discussion," said Donovan Livaccari with the local Fraternal Order of Police.

Sessions wrote that the DOJ "should help promote officer safety, officer morale, and public respect for their work." Additionally, he said the "misdeeds of individual bad actors should not impugn or undermine the legitimate and honorable work that law enforcement officers and agencies perform."

"When they implemented the consent decree, it was put forth to the public as if it was a sweeping indictment of the police department as a whole," said Livaccari.

Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission does not expect the directive to have much impact on the NOPD consent decree.

"Essentially this is a mature consent decree that's now being governed by a federal judge, so this is an agreement that's put in place right now," he said.

"The NOPD consent decree, which benefits the New Orleans community and which is supported by the city and the police department, remains in place without change. The U.S. District Court will continue to monitor the implementation of the consent decree as it has since its inception," said lead NOPD Consent Decree Monitor Jonathan Aronie.

Goyeneche admits parts of the consent decree are challenging for the police department.

"So there's a lot more paperwork that needs to be conducted or fulfilled by officers. With the manpower shortage and the crime problems, it affects the police department's ability to respond to crime in effective manner," Goyeneche said.

"The NOPD is committed to the process of reform because we believe embracing 21st century policing is the right thing to do for our department and for our residents. The current attorney general's comments on his department's policies don't impact our commitment to constitutional policing and ongoing reform," said NOPD Director of Communications Beau Tidwell.

"We're under a consent decree for a reason. This police department wasn't playing by their own rules, let alone, you know, the United States Constitution, so this is a consequence, and the only way that the consent decree or the compliance of the police department with the consent decree can be determined is by a paper trail," said Goyeneche.

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