‘My focus is on those officers’: Mayor Cantrell outlines steps to help retain police officers

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 7:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Mayor Latoya Cantrell this afternoon outlined several steps which she hopes will help retain police officers, as she criticized public officials and the media.

The mayor calls for stepped-up promotions, a legal challenge to the consent decree, and new vehicles to try and hold onto a department that’s losing more than a dozen officers each month.

Mayor Cantrell says when it comes to the outflow of New Orleans police officers, last Thursday was rough.

“That afternoon seeing nine separations, one day a retirement,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell canceled her trip to Singapore and says she’s been attending NOPD district roll calls ever since.

“My focus is on those officers. I can’t look at those who left, I have to look at those who are here who stayed and showed up every day for the city,” she said.

The mayor said that negative comments about leadership are taking a toll.

“Respect is due a dog,” she said.

“We ask you to give them the dignity and respect they deserve and it’s not just to the media, it’s our elected officials who continue to beat the drum on negativity,” said NOPD Supt. Shaun Ferguson.

The mayor also said that punitive disciplinary policies and long complaints by the police association are causing some officers to leave. She says she is now ready to proceed legally to get out of 10 years worth of federal oversight.

“We will be moving forward with a petition to terminate the consent decree,” she said.

Cantrell also says she hopes to improve police morale, through the purchase of dozens of new SUVs.

“We now have over 75 in stock and they’re being outfitted with bells and whistles,” said Cantrell.

Aside from new vehicles coming for 75 officers, the mayor said the city is taking other steps to try and make working conditions better for officers.

“Looking at shorts, baseball caps and materials that allow for air and they can breathe a little easier,” said the mayor.

She says the NOPD will also be lifting restrictions on beards and fingernail polish, and will soon move forward with 30 promotions.

Cantrell says the city will also take steps to use more civilians to handle mental health calls and minor accidents. She says her administration has been through several crises and she says they will get through this one.

Cantrell also says the city will be quote ‘doubling down’ on efforts to recruit more officers.

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