Population 365,000 (est.)
|Legal personality Governmental: Government agency|
Operations jurisdiction* City of New Orleans in the state of Louisiana, United States
Size 350.2 square miles (907 km)
The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) has primary responsibility for law enforcement in New Orleans, Louisiana. The department's jurisdiction covers all of Orleans Parish, while the city is divided into eight police districts.
- Bureaus and Command Staff
- Non District Core Components and Command Staff
- Antoinette Frank
- Hurricane Katrina
- Danziger Bridge shootings
- Jeff Winn
- Joshua Colclough
- Maurice Palmer
- Quincy Jones and Rafael Dobard
- Desmond Pratt
- Rank structure
- Personnel shortage
- New Orleans Police Badge
- New Orleans officers killed
Michael S. Harrison is the Superintendent of Police and chief commander of the NOPD.
Bureaus and Command Staff
The NOPD is divided into five bureaus, each commanded by a deputy superintendent who reports to the superintendent of police:
In the absence of the superintendent, the Deputy Superintendent of Field Operations will command the department.
Non-District Core Components and Command Staff
The NOPD is divided into eight police districts, each of which is commanded by a Police Commander:
There are several units within each district, including Uniform Patrol, District Investigative Unit-Property Crimes, District Investigative Unit-Person Crimes, Task Force and Quality of Life Unit.
In 2001, Superintendent Serpas retired from the New Orleans Police Department after 21 years of service. Before retiring, Superintendent Serpas attained the civil service rank of major and the appointed position of assistant superintendent of the NOPD. Chief Serpas was preceded by Warren J. Riley, who retired with the change of the mayoral administration on May 2, 2010. Riley had been preceded by Eddie Compass and Richard Pennington.
During a press conference on Friday, June 25, 2010, Superintendent Serpas announced several reforms to the New Orleans Police Department. Superintendent Serpas reduced the number of deputy superintendents from six to four, and decided that only two of those positions would be held by commissioned officers. Serpas announced that Marlon Defillo, current Assistant Superintendent of the Bureau of Investigations, would take on a new role as the Deputy Chief of the Operations Bureau. Current Deputy Chief Kirk Bouyelas would also take on a new role as Deputy Chief of the Investigative Services Bureau. The two civilian deputy chiefs were to be Ms. Arlinda Westbrook, Deputy Chief (Civilian) in charge of the Public Integrity Bureau, and Ms. Stephanie Landry, Deputy Chief (Civilian) in charge of the Management Services Bureau. Serpas also reduced the rank of eleven appointed Majors to their proper civil service rank of Captain. Also in the slew of changes, Serpas reassigned 25 of the current 37 Captains within the department. Superintendent Serpas announced on June 23, 2010, that the majority of his highest-ranking commissioned officers - for example, majors and deputy chiefs - would be summarily demoted effective June 27 to captain, the latter rank thereby returning as the de facto rank of district station commander. As a courtesy, many personnel continue to address district commanders with the honorific "Major." As of July 2010, only two officers - Treadaway and Burkart - retain the rank of major, both of whom were appointed to the position by civil service.
Also in accordance with the above changes, two of Serpas's deputy chiefs swapped responsibilities, while two others were replaced by civilian personnel, bringing the net count of deputy chiefs from six to four.
On Tuesday, March 1, 2011, the New Orleans Civil Service Commission unanimously approved Superintendent Serpas' proposal to create a new pay plan for 16 new "Police Commanders". Serpas originally asked the Commission to approve 16 "Colonel's" positions. The new "Commanders" will be third in the command structure of the New Orleans Police Department, only ranked lower than the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendents. In June 2011, 1 additional commander position was created for the Reserve Division. All other personnel, including the two Majors will be subordinate to these individuals. http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/03/new_orleans_civil_service_comm.html. The Police Commanders are responsible for the 17 "Core Components" of the NOPD, including the 8 Patrol Districts and 9 other units as noted below.
On Monday, August 18, 2014, at a press conference at City Hall, Superintendent Ronal W. Serpas announced his retirement from the New Orleans Police Department, effective immediately. Mayor Mitch Landrieu then announced the appointment of 7th District Commander Michael S. Harrison, a 23-year veteran as the Interim Superintendent of Police. It was announced later in the day that former Superintendent Serpas would be taking on a faculty teaching position at Loyola University of New Orleans.
On Friday, August 22, 2014, Interim Superintendent Harrison announced that veteran Deputy Superintendent of Operations Darryl Albert would now take command of the Investigative & Support Bureau, becoming the Chief of Detectives. It was also announced that 6th District Commander Robert Bardy had been promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Operations. Also promoted were Lieutenants Ronnie Stevens and Lawrence Dupree, now Commanders of the 6th & 7th Districts respectively.
On Friday, October 17, 2014, Superintendent Harrison announced the realignment of some of the department's top brass. Commander Rannie Mushatt was promoted to Deputy Superintendent of the Investigative & Support Bureau, the position formerly held by Darryl J. Albert. Chief Albert was reduced in rank to Police Commander and appointed command of the Criminal Investigation Division. Lieutenants Doug Eckert & Richard Williams were promoted to the Police Commander position and placed in command of the Education, Training & Recruitment Division and Crime Lab & Evidence Division reapectively. Commander John Thomas who holds a Juris Doctorate and previously commanded the Crime Lab & Evidence Division assumed new duties as the commander of the Compliance Bureau. Commander Kim Lewis-Williams was reduced in rank to her permanent civil service classification of police lieutenant and transferred back to patrol duties.
In mid-2015, press reports indicated that the department was able to clear less than a third of its homicide cases.
On 4 March 1995, Officer Antoinette Frank robbed a local restaurant, killed two of the owner's children, as well as her own partner who was working security at the business. She was sentenced to death.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, ninety-one officers resigned or retired and another two hundred and twenty-eight were investigated for abandoning their posts.
Danziger Bridge shootings
A deadly police shooting occurred on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On Sunday, September 4, six days after the hurricane, nineteen-year-old James Brissette and forty-year-old Ronald Madison, both African American, were killed in the gunfire, and four other civilians were wounded. All victims were unarmed. Madison, a mentally disabled man, was shot in the back. New Orleans police coordinated in fabricating a cover-up story for their crime, falsely reporting that seven police officers responded to a police dispatch reporting an officer down, and that at least four people were firing weapons at the officers upon their arrival. The Danziger Bridge Shootings led to several NOPD officers being charged with various crimes including obstruction of justice. On August 5, 2011, five officers were found guilty of all charges. Several others plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for testimony against the other officers. On September 17, 2013, the five officers who went to trial and were found guilty of various civil rights violations, were granted a new trial. In his 129-page order vacating the convictions and ordering a new trial, Federal Judge Kurt Engelhardt, cited grotesque prosecutorial misconduct as the reason for granting the motion for a new trial.
In late May, 2011, Captain Jeff Winn was fired and a number of other officers reassigned for concealing details concerning the killing of Henry Glover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In August 2012, Officer Joshua Colclough plead guilty to manslaughter in his killing of an unarmed man during a drug raid. He was sentenced to four years in jail.
In April 2013, former Officer Maurice Palmer was sentenced to five years' probation for failing to file federal income tax forms.
Quincy Jones and Rafael Dobard
In February 2014, Officers Quincy Jones and Rafael Dobard plead guilty to charges relating to faking time sheets and embezzling money from the department.
In March 2014, Detective Desmond Pratt plead guilty to sexual assault of three underaged girls. He was sentenced to three years in state custody.
NOTES: *The State of Louisiana provides $6,000 supplemental annual pay after one year of service. Additional annual pay is merited for the following degrees: Associates: $1,000 Bachelors: $2,000 Graduate: $3,000 (Masters, Doctorate)
Breakdown of the makeup of the rank and file of NOPD:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, looting, violence and other criminal activity became serious problems. With most of the attention of the authorities focused on rescue efforts, security in New Orleans degraded quickly. By August 30, looting had spread throughout the city, often in broad daylight and in the presence of police officers. "The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked," City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said.
Incapacitated by the breakdown of transportation and communication, as well as overwhelmed in terms of numbers, police officers could do little to stop crime. Shopkeepers who remained behind were left to defend their property alone. Looters included gangs of gunmen, and gunfire was heard in various parts of the city. Along with violent armed robbery of nonessential valuable goods, many incidents were of residents simply gathering food, water and other essential commodities from unstaffed grocery stores. There were also reports of looting by some police officers.
One report of violence involved a police shooting of six citizens on the Danziger Bridge, which carries the Chef Menteur Highway (US 90) across the Industrial Canal. These citizens were reportedly attacking contractors of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers involved in the 17th Street Canal repair. Other reports alleged people seeking refuge on the bridge from the flood were fired on without provocation. The shootings left two dead and four injured. Subsequently, seven NOPD officers were indicted on murder charges in connection with the incident known as the "Danzinger 7". The case was dropped when the prosecutor who brought the charges, Eddie Jordan, resigned his position following charges of corruption and a judgment against him in a racial discrimination lawsuit. On August 13, 2008, District Judge Raymond Bigelow dismissed the case based on misconduct by the prosecution. On August 5, 2011, a New Orleans Federal Court jury convicted five police officers of a myriad of charges related to the cover-up and deprivation of civil rights.
Over 200 NOPD officers were said to have deserted the city during the storm. These officers were given the opportunity to explain their actions before the deputy chief in a tribunal-like hearing, after which 85% of the officers who supposedly deserted were terminated. The ones who stayed during Katrina were awarded with a Hurricane Katrina lapel pin to be worn on the uniform. It is shaped like the star and crescent badge, with a hurricane emblem in the center of the star.
Prior to Katrina, the New Orleans Police Department was notable as being one of the few major departments in the country whose officers sported powder blue uniform shirts instead of the dark or navy blue shirts used by the majority of police forces nationwide. In the wake of Katrina, however, the department switched to a dark blue uniform shirt in order to avoid potential problems from people, including officers dismissed after the hurricane who may have attempted to illegally pass themselves off as police officers. Beginning on Friday, February 13, 2009, during the annual Mardi Gras celebration, NOPD officers permanently returned to wearing powder blue uniform shirts to the delight of many New Orleans residents who observed the groups of traditionally-clad officers along the parade routes.
In the fall of 2007, the Fox television network dramatized post-Katrina New Orleans in the short-lived police drama K-Ville starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser as NOPD detectives working for the Felony Action Squad (FAS).
As of July 2015, the New Orleans Police Department had 1,106 officers on the force. Prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the NOPD had 1,742 commissioned police officers. The NOPD was actively recruiting to increase manpower in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which preceded an unusually high number of resignations.
New Orleans Police Badge
The Star and Crescent badge, unique to the NOPD, has been worn by members of the department since 1855. The crescent represents the shape of the city, as the Mississippi River forms a crescent shape around the city.The star represents the power of a state or local government to preserve order and keep the peace; it is a traditional symbol of law enforcement authority in the United States.
New Orleans officers killed
Not mentioning the "Metropolitans" killed in 1874 during the racial riots (see the history section above), the ODMP website lists 113 New Orleans Policemen who died in the line of duty from 1856 to 2013.