Cantrell, NOPD respond to questions about DWI arrests

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:58 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Amid the ongoing police shortage, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell responded to questions about the level of DWI arrests by the NOPD.

Cantrell acknowledged that violent crime is the police department’s top priority but said the city also does not want innocent people killed by drunk drivers.

“First of all, our focus is on violent crime,” said Cantrell. “DWIs we know that they’re important, right? We know, in terms of, definitely don’t want someone to, an innocent person being killed by a drunk driver absolutely not.”

She added, “The reality is that we do have a manpower issue and we are focusing every aspect of our resources on violent crime. We’ve heard that very loud and clear from the residents that we serve and we’re going to continue to do that but that doesn’t mean that we’re not focusing on force multipliers so that we can free up the response of officers to therefore be directed in other deployment strategies like traffic and patrolling traffic.”

For its part, the NOPD said there were 169 DWI arrests in 2022 and 348 such arrests in 2021.

Further, it says a simple search for DWI arrests or citations would likely not show all arrests because many arrests are made in the process of investigating traffic accidents which would be classified as accidents first.

Further, it says the NOPD’s Traffic Unit has a DWI enforcement section, and all traffic unit officers are certified in conducting standardized field sobriety tests and the use of intoxilyzers. And the department says it uses overtime and grants to increase DWI patrols periodically and plans to continue to increase enforcement efforts.

Meanwhile, Cantrell said officers handled an accident involving former New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond, who served in the Biden administration, appropriately.

“What I know is that my officers responded according to policy and procedure and that’s what I’ll say about that. I’m not about being biased, yes, it was Cedric Richmond our former congressman and employee at DNC but that doesn’t mean you render bias, you follow policy, and they did that,” said Cantrell.

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