NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans councilman took issue on Wednesday with some recently introduced New Orleans Police Department plans, including pay raises for officers and a proposed police district shutdown.
Councilman Joe Giarrusso III specified his positions on a number of new NOPD policies that were part of the city's collaboration with former New York Police Department officials.
The mayor's office and the chief of police are calling for $80 million in city spending over three years, some of which will go toward pay raises and bonuses for recruited and current officers. Giarrusso says he believes those policies are too ambitious.
"The plan right now is paying 30% more than any other municipality," Giarrusso said. "The incentives run out in three years ... I don't want to make promises to police officers that we can't keep."
Giarrusso represents New Orleans District A, which includes Lakeview, Mid-City, and Uptown neighborhoods. The councilman criticized a plan shut down a police district within this constituency as a means to make up for proposal funds.
"That's a non starter for me," Giarrusso said on shutting down the second district. "I don't think shutting down police districts at this moment is good ... even temporarily."
Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Police Chief Ferguson announced an $80 million budget for new NOPD policies on Sept. 8.
This new plan came just weeks after the city hired former NYPD officials Fausto Pichardo and Thomas Conforti to consult Cantrell and Ferguson on potential changes to NOPD policies and spending. Pichardo and Conforti brought an 88-page proposal of ideas for the city's police.
The councilman praised some proposals though, including moving all police personnel to patrol duty and hiring civilian employees for non emergency services, but he questioned why outside consultants were needed to come up with these ideas.
Giarrusso said councilmembers have been calling for these changes for years.
"I don't know why you need those people to tell you what people already know the answer is," Giarrusso said.