Supt. Woodfork announces strategic plan to help NOPD combat the violent crime in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Interim NOPD Superintendent Michelle Woodfork’s strategy to fight crime includes setting up a drone program, using crime data to target hot spots in the city and relying on clergy and community leaders for outreach.
Supt. Woodfork says she hopes to stop crime before it happens.
Drones and bait cars are just some methods Woodfork says will help the department reduce violent crime.
Former NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas supports Woodfork’s proactive ideas, including using a bait car to try and lure repeat car thieves and using real-time cameras to send in officers while a crime is happening.
“I support that. I’ve been talking about that since I was the chief of New Orleans,” said Serpas.
His only concern with the real-time cameras and using a bait car is manpower.
Woodfork wants to work with state and federal agencies to help arrest a list of 50 suspects tied to multiple crimes in the city. Auto thefts constitute a significant concern, with over 800 stolen cars this year. That’s an average of one car per hour.
Woodfork says they’re going to be reinvesting in proven community-based strategies. Programs like midnight basketball and youth peace walks.
“We hadn’t been proactive in some time. We have been reactive for a couple of years and I think that is in direct correlation to why our crime has gone up,” said Supt. Woodfork.
The department is also streamlining its recruitment process, which she says is already paying off with 19 new recruits this week.
Woodfork says they’ve hired 30 civilians and opened up another 25 positions within the alternative police response unit. NOPD has purchased 600 cars to allow all officers soon a take-home vehicle.
They’ve also purchased drones and are in the process of writing policies around their usage. But, critically, she says NOPD will tap into available state and federal resources more actively, on the state level to tackle interstate shootings and on the federal level to get violent criminals off the streets.
“We have partnered before, and it’s just a reenergizing of it. Thinking about it very differently. How can we do better than we did the last time, and that’s all of us putting our heads together and skills together, them providing as many resources as they can to us because we don’t have some of the resources that they do,” said Supt. Woodfork.
She says it’s been some time since this has genuinely been a proactive department, and partnerships with federal agencies are already yielding dividends in locking up violent offenders. She plans to expand on them.
Department leaders are compiling a list of the city’s most prolific offenders with active arrest warrants and working their way down the list.
Woodfork asks leadership to individually reach out to every cop who has stepped away from the force in the last two years and ask what pushed them to leave. And also to reconsider returning to NOPD.
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