‘We need action’: Moreno calls on Mayor, Superintendent to work with council and implement safety measures

“The council is not in charge of operations for the NOPD. So we need action from the Chief, we need action from the Mayor, and I think that’s what the people of this city really want,” Moreno said.
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As crime in New Orleans continues to increase, there are fewer officers on hand to deal with criminal activity.

From a shooting at a high school graduation that took the life of an 80-year-old grandmother watching her grandson’s graduation, to illegal car stunts that attracted a mass gathering, shutting down traffic at the intersection of St. Claude and St. Roch Avenues on Sunday, Moreno said addressing the NOPD manpower crisis should be the priority.

Currently, NOPD hovers around 1,000 officers. Publicly available data shows the force at 1,097 officers, which includes recruits and reserve officers. Not including recruits and reserve officers, that number is 989.

FOX 8 sat down with New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno, who on Monday called for more immediate action to be taken to bolster the shrinking NOPD.

“The council is not in charge of operations for the NOPD,” Moreno said. “We need action from the Chief, we need action from the Mayor, and I think that’s what the people of this city really want.”

While she acknowledges there are no quick fixes to the shortage, Moreno said several items can be immediately implemented to make better use of the officers still here, including:

  • Consolidate detectives and possibly precincts.
  • Request the Louisiana State Police patrol the interstates in Orleans Parish, direct traffic and respond to accidents.
  • Bring on more civilians to respond to non-emergency calls for service.
  • Prioritize online police reports for non-emergency calls.
  • Expedite the lateral transfer program.
  • Start a Crisis Response Team to respond to mental health and substance abuse calls.

“There are things that we have done on our own, but at the end of the day it is the leadership at the very top, the Mayor and the Police Chief, that can enact these things immediately,” Moreno said. “For us to try and go around and get these things done takes forever, but they can do it with the quick snap of fingers.”

Donovan Livaccari with the Fraternal Order of Police New Orleans, said the problems run deep. He’s in support of any proposed pay increases for officers, which both the Mayor and council have proposed.

“We’ve had poor morale for several years now. People see that, they see that when they interact, with officers, they feel it even if it’s not something that’s outwardly displayed, it’s something that people sense,” he said.

Moreno said the process allowing for lateral transfers should be expedited, which means officers from other jurisdictions won’t have to go through NOPD’s academy. Moreno said training for new officers is around 1,100 hours.

“I do think the mayor cares about crime, but I do feel that she could more urgently address it. I also think the people of this city want to hear from her more,” Moreno said. “What the council wants to see, I believe what the people of the city want to see, is constant attention to violence and crime in our city, constant attention to what it’s going to take to really build up our force and that seems to be missing.”

An NOPD spokesperson said plans are in the works to allow for lateral transfers. The Mayor’s Office did not respond when asked whether they plan to request Louisiana State Troopers to patrol the interstates in Orleans Parish.

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