Report: NOPD wasting time on traffic attachments

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 5, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- If police stop you in New Orleans and you have an arrest warrant from outside the parish for not paying a traffic ticket or not showing up in traffic court, you go to jail.

According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the NOPD is wasting limited resources on traffic attachments.

"That's happening over 6,000 times a year," said MCC President Rafael Goyeneche. "That's going to be at least 12,000 manhours that are going to be squandered by that. That's a bad policy to bring those people to jail under good times. We're in the throws of a manpower crisis where we're down over 400 officers."

The process is similar to how neighboring Jefferson Parish handles traffic attachments from outside the parish, minus the manpower shortage.

"We will transport you to our correctional facility and in turn, notify the agency that has the outstanding attachment," said JPSO spokesman Col. John Fortunato. Fortunato said deputies issue a summons and a new court date for drivers stopped with Jefferson Parish attachments.

Officials at Orleans Parish Prison say there is no delay in processing people picked up for out of parish traffic attachments.

Department spokesman Phil Stelly said in most cases, people are in and out of jail within a matter hours.

Stelly said they have a standing agreement concerning Jefferson Parish traffic attachments.

"We send that information to the warrants division of Jefferson Parish," said Stelly. "They send us back a form listing a new court date for that individual. That individual must sign that form and we send it back to Jefferson Parish. With the form signed we are able to release that individual."

"Once we give that court date to them, as far as we're concerned, they can be released," said Fortunato.

"It makes absolutely no sense to waste your most precious resource, which is your officer's time, in bringing an offender to jail that's only going to be quickly processed out," said Goyeneche.

The WWLTV Facebook page drew plenty of comments from people arrested in New Orleans on traffic attachments.

Brian Cummins told us: "I was arrested for a brake tag violation from kenner. Between the two jails I was there 2 days."

Regina Wilson said, "I had a traffic attachment in Gretna and Orleans held me for 2 days saying they were waiting on a court date."

Chad Prestenbach wrote: "Seatbelt ticket in JP, arrested in NO and held for three days."

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