NOPD manpower crisis could affect future events, parade routes
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - When not enough New Orleans Police officers volunteered to work detail for the Krewe of Boo parade, organizers cut out about a dozen blocks of the route.
While so many spectators enjoyed seeing a parade once again in New Orleans, the parade route was shortened by several blocks.
Attorney for the Police Association of New Orleans, Eric Hessler, says the city didn’t have enough officers sign up to work details for the parade. To compensate, the NOPD had to pull two officers from each district, a total of 14 officers, to work the route. Still, that wasn’t enough and the entire Canal Street portion of the route was cut out.
“This was a private organization putting on a parade, so they had detail officers that would be paid by the organization to staff the parade route. From what I’m being told, there weren’t enough officers that elected to work the detail,” says Hessler.
There are about 1,000 NOPD officers, according to Hessler. He says that number is critically low and could affect the coverage of large events in the future.
Hessler says so far this year, about 120 officers have already left the force. Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says the department is at a 40-year low when it comes to manpower.
Mayor Cantrell has said she’s considering changing the beginning of several parade routes from Jefferson and Magazine to Napoleon and St. Charles Avenue.
“Clearly the parades are going to have to be made safe and the department is going to be the ones responsible for that. So I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you see a shortened, more consistent parade route that can be controlled by fewer people because they won’t have a choice,” says Hessler.
“This is just another reminder of some of the implications of a manpower crisis that we’re facing,” says Metropolitan Crime Commission, Rafael Goyeneche.
Goyeneche says the NOPD is doing what it can with the number of officers it has on the force. While it won’t be a quick fix, Goyeneche points out the public will continue to feel the effects until it’s addressed.
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