Zurik: NOPD suspends 26 officers from secondary employment following ‘Attention to the Details’ Investigation
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department suspended more than two dozen officers from performing secondary employment duties just days after a FOX 8 Lee Zurik Investigation regarding the detail work of the officers.
In an internal memo obtained by FOX 8, Deputy Superintendent Otha Sandifer said effective immediately 26 officers would be suspended from performing secondary employment, or detail work, until further notice.
The FOX 8 Lee Zurik Investigation ‘Attention to the Details’ has focused on the detail work of several officers on the detail suspension list, including Todd Morrell, Nicholas Morrell and Michael Stalbert.
FOX 8′s analysis of NOPD timesheets and detail assignment records showed multiple times where Sgt. Todd Morrell was likely racing a car at NOLA Motorsports Park while he was assigned detail work at the Fairgrounds Neighborhood across the river.
In another part of the Lee Zurik investigation, it was uncovered how officers were seeming to work two jobs at the same time -- being on the clock for NOPD, while also being on the clock for secondary employment, or detail work.
Many of the 26 officers make significant money from detail work. Todd Morrell made $55,000 in 2020 on detail assignments, his brother Nicholas made $53,000 on details. The officer making the most in detail work in 2020 was Brian Sullivan who made nearly $90,000 in off-duty detail assignments.
Donovan Livaccari, counsel for the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police, said he had spoken to Deputy Superintendent Sandifer who told him “PSAB [Professional Standards and Accountability Bureau] conducted an audit of details going back to 2016.”
Livaccari said it sounded like the audit was still taking place but they were looking for “1) time overlaps and 2) rule violations (i.e. 16 hours and 35 minutes in a 24 hour period). That is how you end up with suspended details.”
The investigation into possible violations of the hour limit policy is the focus of FOX 8′s latest installment of ‘Attention to the Details’ which airs Thursday night after NFL Football.
Late Thursday, the New Orleans Police Department made their first public statement on the findings regarding the detail program.
This information has been brought to our attention and a formal disciplinary investigation is underway.
The NOPD Public Integrity Bureau is currently investigating officers related to their involvement with the details system administered through the Office of Police Secondary Employment.
Detail privileges have been suspended for the officers in question while the investigation continues.
The Orleans Parish Independent Police Monitor has been made aware of the investigation and will be working with PIB throughout.
While we cannot address specific questions related to the investigation until it is complete, NOPD is treating the allegations and the investigation with the urgency and attention the matter clearly deserves.
“We take these allegations very seriously,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. “When matters such as this have been brought to our attention in the past, we have acted quickly and decisively and that will be the case again. This behavior will not be tolerated.”
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