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Justice Department to reform New Orleans Police with Consent Decree

In what will admittedly be an expensive arrangement for the city of New Orleans the chief lawyer for the Federal Government, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu made the announcement today. After the Mayor requested the Federal Government start an investigation in 2010 it did not take long for them to make this decision based on decades of police abuse and neglect in protecting its citizens. One year after starting its investigation the Feds determined that there were a multitude of institutional problems with the department including: use of deadly force without justification, multiple unconstitutional arrests and racial profiling.

From the Huffington Post article on the same story:

Among its provisions:

_ All officers will be required to receive at least 24 hours of training on stops, searches and arrests; 40 hours of use-of-force training; and four hours of training on bias-free policing within a year of the agreement taking effect.

_ All interrogations involving suspected homicides or sexual assaults will have to be recorded in their entirety on video. The department also will be required to install video cameras and location devices in all patrol cars and other vehicles within two years.

_ The department will be required to completely restructure the system for paying officers for off-duty security details, develop a new report format for collecting data on all stops and searches and create a recruitment program to increase diversity among its officers.

_ The city and Justice Department will pick a court-supervised monitor to regularly assess and report on the police department’s implementation of the requirements.

_ The city and police department can ask a judge to dissolve the agreement after four years, but only if they can show they have fully complied with its requirements for two years.

The parallels between what has been found in the New Orleans Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office(MCSO) in Arizona are uncanny. Especially as Sheriff Joe Arapaio took the stand today in a trail accusing his department of widespread racial profiling. Unfortunately in the case of the MCSO the leaders of the department are not encouraging any reform as evidenced in Arapaio’s guarded defense today.

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