NEW ORLEANS -- After the New Orleans Police Department implemented its redeployment plan to tackle the city's manpower crisis, community members are now saying not having assigned quality of life officers is negatively impacting their neighborhoods.
On Wednesday night a consent decree monitor meeting was held at the Ashe Cultural Center in Central City where the public was updated on how the NOPD is doing when it comes to following a federal judge's orders.
“When you think of the consent decree and community policing. The consent decree is really about community policing,” said one of the NOPD consent decree monitors updating the public on their efforts to make sure the police department is complying.
Attorney Jonathan Aronie says four areas on the monitor's high priority watch list including taking a closer look at the police academy which recently installed a new Deputy Chief to take over.
"The Academy still needs significant work. We still see the materials aren't adequate, the lesson plans aren't adequate, or consistent. We see the quality of the instruction is not consistent yet,” said Aronie.
Also on the monitor's list; the NOPD’s need to improve its sex assault and domestic violence unit. Recommendations include filing clear incident reports, increasing the number of investigators in a unit that's "clearly under-staffed" and making a better effort to cross-check the criminal histories of offenders.
The consent decree monitor and his team also said lack of supervision needs improvement. Aronie said most supervisors don't have enough time to supervise. The monitoring team would like to see lieutenants and sergeants get out on the street and be better mentors to patrol officers.
“They did their job and now we really have nothing,” said Daesy Behrhrost with the Louisiana Language Access Coalition.
The biggest complaint brought up by audience members on Wednesday night was a drop in community engagement within the police department.
Behrhrost says the Latino and Vietnamese communities have been left high and dry after officers who were assigned to those communities were redeployed to help combat the police department's manpower crisis.
“It has greatly impacted the community because we relied on those officers to do translation as well as have a point of contact within the community. They spent several years building that trust with the community,” said Behrhrost.
"Some of the things are working,” said Lionel Coleman, member of the 6th District Police Community Advisory Board. “It’s just some of the policies that NOPD has implemented in the last couple of months isn't really working for the community.”
Coleman said some major quality of life issues like blight, high grass, loitering, and abandoned cars have started to fall by the wayside because those point people within the department no longer exist.
“Before the policy changed, we had people that we could go to in the department, direct phone call and get them to change things,” said Coleman.
Meetings with the consent decree monitor happen quarterly.