NEW ORLEANS - An evaluation committee of city leaders and federal Justice Department lawyers began listening to the five companies hoping to become the monitor for the Consent Decree designed to reform the New Orleans Police force.
"There is a huge amount of skepticism I think in the community about whether this police department is actually going to reform," said Michael Bromwich, of the Bromwich Group from Washington, D.C.
President Obama asked Michael Bromwich to step in after the BP oil spill and break up the Minerals Management Agency into two new federal bureaus. Now Bromwich wants to be the Consent Decree monitor and report on progress with police reforms to a federal judge.
"To review the training, to review the files, to get a sense through ride-alongs and other means how the department is actually operating," Bromwich explained to the evaluating committee.
Bromwich heard there is skepticism and optimism in the New Orleans community.
"I think the Consent Decree is something that is necessary," said Randolph Scott of Community United For Change. "We must have the Consent Decree."
City leaders, initially enthusiastic, are now telling a federal judge the City can't afford costs like those for the monitor.
"But if the Consent Decree does move forward, the monitor team is the group of people who decide whether or not the City and the Police Department are meeting the benchmarks set forth," said City Spokesman Ryan Berni.
By the end of the month, the evaluating committee hopes to make the final selection. But members of the citizens groups say they will be involved in the entire process, from this selection all the way through the process of implementing the Consent Decree.
"We're serious about changing this Police Department," concluded Scott.