NEW ORLEANS — Police and Justice Foundation founder John Casbon discussed changes to the New Orleans Police Department plan and the role of outside consultants, on Thursday, amid city review.
Casbon stood alongside Consulting Chief Fausto Pichardo as Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Police Chief Shaun Ferguson announced the $80 million proposal in a Sept. 8 press conference.
At the heart of Consulting Chief Pichardo's 10-day draft report to the NOPD are ideas and methods to increase the number of officers on patrol.
That plan previously recommended moving 212 desk officers and detectives to patrol duty. After consideration by other city officials that proposed number was revised to about 100.
Casbon believes that difference can be made up with aggressive hiring, including lateral transfers and hiring former officers who are willing to come to back.
The department is also looking at ways to encourage new recruits, including eliminating recent marijuana use as a disqualifier to becoming an NOPD officer. The New Orleans Civil Service Commission will meet Monday to consider that policy change among other things.
“I have, literally, agencies calling me right now, how do I come back?," Casbon said. "We're even talking to the reserves.”
Casbon based bringing in outside consultants on his role working with then-Police Chief Richard Pennington in the 1990s. Their plan back then resulted in a record police population of 1,600 officers and cutting murders in half.
The city acted boldly to address the crime crisis then, and Casbon thinks it can be done again.
"I think we're in danger, and I think we've got to make sure what we're doing works," Casbon said. "There's no plan B."