NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans city officials will no longer be a part of the public meetings held on the Federal Consent Decree over NOPD.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell put out a statement Tuesday saying that City employees will no longer speak at public consent decree meetings without her permission.
"To focus the City’s attention on public safety, I am not authorizing any City employee to speak on the City’s behalf in these public meetings without my express permission," Cantrell said.
The consent decree puts the New Orleans Police Department under federal oversight to bring in large-scale reforms to the department and make sure they're doing constitutional policing. Then-mayor Mitch Landrieu welcomed the reforms in 2012, but 10-years later, Cantrell has said it is no longer needed.
"NOPD spends enormous amounts of human and financial resources on collecting and publicly reporting on its efforts to demonstrate continued and sustained improvements in constitutional policing," Cantrell said.
Cantrell says the City is not required by the consent decree to attend these meetings and that they take up too much time and resources to keep doing so.
"To be clear, this action will not slow down any part of the NOPD’s efforts to demonstrate compliance with the consent decree and does not represent any change in that continuing effort," Cantrell said. "To the contrary, the time saved will free resources to maintain focus on that very effort."
The mayor's full statement can be read below:
"The dedicated women and men of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) have worked diligently for ten years to satisfy the constitutional policing requirements of the Federal Consent Decree. This dramatic progress, repeatedly acknowledged by the Federal Monitors and the Court, is a significant part of the reason why last August I asked the Department of Justice to transition the Consent Decree into a less burdensome model. That plan was rejected. NOPD spends enormous amounts of human and financial resources on collecting and publicly reporting on its efforts to demonstrate continued and sustained improvements in constitutional policing. The Court has conducted many public events where NOPD personnel are tasked to prepare extensive presentations on various topics of interest and then present that information before the press. The City and NOPD have objected to these meetings because they are not part of the Consent Decree process agreed to by the City of New Orleans. These meetings require the attendance and attention of a range of public safety personnel who must depart from their daily duties to prepare for a court presentation on live television. Despite our objections, these public events continue to be held and continue to represent a drain on the time, resources, and ability of the NOPD to perform their job duties. To compound matters, these public meetings have frequently veered into territory and subject matters that are not part of the consent decree or NOPD’s constitutional policing.
Therefore, in the interest of supporting the efforts of Superintendent Woodfork to further strengthen the integrity of the command structure at NOPD, and to focus the City’s attention on public safety, I am not authorizing any City employee to speak on the City’s behalf in these public meetings without my express permission. To be clear, this action will not slow down any part of the NOPD’s efforts to demonstrate compliance with the consent decree and does not represent any change in that continuing effort. To the contrary, the time saved will free resources to maintain focus on that very effort. Given the NOPD’s top priority of protecting the public, it is in our best interest to allow our officers and supervisors to continue to perform their law enforcement duties to the satisfaction of the Federal Monitors and more importantly, to the people of the City of New Orleans, without distraction while we work to build depth in the NOPD ranks."
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