History of the NOPD
The New Orleans Police Department has a long and colorful history, highlights of which are found below.
Click here for additional historical crime records.
After the birth of New Orleans in 1718, its policing was in the hands of the military through succeeding years of alternating French, Spanish and French governance. Records first note a New Orleans Police Department in 1796, during under Spanish Colonial Governor, the Baron de Carondelet when, "Crime had reached such proportions by the mid 1790s that a full-time city police force was required."
After France transferred Louisiana back to Spain in 1800, Pierre Clement Laussat, the French Colonial Prefect, reorganized city government by appointing a mayor and council of twelve. Mayor Etienne De Bore held the first Council Session on November 8, 1803, and appointed a committee to inspect prisons and formulate rules and police regulations. Pierre Achille Rivery was appointed as Commissioner General of Police and placed in command of twenty-five men. After numerous complaints, the Council dismissed the men and authorized hiring of mulattoes, but only under the command of white officers.
New Orleans became part of the United States on December 20, 1803. The city limits at that time were in the restricted boundaries of Canal Street on the South, Esplanade Street on the North, the Ramparts on the West and the levee on the East. Beyond that, there was nothing but swamps and plantations. In 1804, the City established the patrol militia under James Pitot, the then Mayor of New Orleans.
The Guard Deville (City Watch) was created in 1806 but was abolished in 1808. Militia patrols were again established. By 1817, the number of constables increased to 46 and for the first time, the city was divided into police districts - French Quarter, Faubourg Treme, Faubourg St. Mary and Faubourg Marigny. A Guard House was placed in each district.
1820s and 1830s
Throughout the 1820's and 30's denouncements were made of the police force and the crime situation had become so desperate that each district formed "vigilance committees" to help increase the efficiency of the police.
Because of government mismanagement, in 1836 the city was divided into three municipalities with separate powers and three separate police departments. The First was bordered by Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue. The Second began at Canal Street and went upriver to the parish line. The Third was down river from Esplanade Avenue.
In 1852 a new mayor reorganized the police system and consolidated the three municipalities. John Youenes, the newly named Chief of Police, had a force of twelve officers and 345 policemen, and received a salary of $2,000 annually. In early 1854 this chief was replaced by Stephen O’Leary, who was then replaced by William James.
In 1855 when the Council again reorganized the management power, the first mention of the "Crescent" badge appeared when the City stated it could not meet the expense of uniforms but officers would continue to wear the crescent badge.
When fraud and violence marred Municipal Elections in 1856, the Mayor ordered police to walk beats unarmed. Most resigned.
Officials called for another reorganization of the police force in 1858, when the new Mayor proposed to upgrade the police department by raising their pay and removing them from politics. Although the reorganization was defeated, better policemen were selected, and discipline was stricter. A telegraph system connecting police stations also was introduced and a rogue’s gallery established.
The Civil War interrupted progress the police force had begun to make. In l861 New Orleans was captured and General B. F. Butler suspended civil government and established martial law with military police and a provost marshal. In l862, Colonel George F. Shepley replaced the Mayor and he named Captain Jonas H. French Chief of Police and Major Joseph M. Bell to head military courts which tried all violations of city and federal laws. In l865, Dr. Hu Kennedy was appointed Mayor of New Orleans and he appointed M. Kavanagh as Chief of Police who was later replaced with Lieutenant John Burke who had been the Chief of the Military Police.
In May of l866, President Andrew Johnson reinstated Mayor John T. Monroe, who reorganized the police department again. A new ordinance specified the number of police to be appointed, their pay, duties and uniform, a double breasted blue cloth frock coat and matching pants with variations for each rank. The ordinance also stated, "The Chief and aids, when deemed necessary, shall wear on the left breast and outside of the coat, a metal badge in the shape of a crescent and star."
The Reconstruction Act of l867 grouped Louisiana with Texas into the Fifth Military District under the U. S. Army. This act suspended municipal elections in New Orleans, removed Monroe from office and fired the Police Chief. Military control came to an end in September, l868, then the legislature under Governor Henry Clay Warmoth created the Metropolitan Police Force by combining Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes. This tri-parish law enforcement agency lasted until the end of Reconstruction in l877. At this time a few interested citizens volunteered to do police duty and were known as the "Ribbon Force." Under Act 35, the Crescent City Police were organized and Thomas N. Boylan was named Chief of Police. Boylan retired in 1882 and veteran Police Captain Richard B. Rowley was his replacement. In l884 a new Mayor appointed Theodore J. Boasso as Chief of Police.
Scandal and corruption continued and in the municipal elections of l888, Joseph A. Shakespeare was again elected Mayor. The administration introduced a bill known as Act 63, which called for the election of six commissioners to reorganize and act as administrators of the Police Department. After much opposition, the Supreme Court ordered the bill to be put into effect. At this time the Police Chief, David C. Hennessy, previously appointed by Mayor Shakspeare, was unanimously chosen the Superintendent of Police on March 13, 1889.
Superintendent Hennessy was a brave and zealous officer and under his command the improvement was rapid and marked. Due to his devotion to duty and his fight against crime in the city, he brought upon himself the enmity of the lawless and on October 15, 1889 about ll:30 P.M. after a meeting of the Police Board, as he neared his home on Basin Street, he was assassinated.
Captain John Journee was placed in temporary command of the Department by the Board of Commissioners. As a tribute to the memory of the murdered chief, a monument 26 feet high and 7-1/2 feet square erected and unveiled on May 29, 1892 and can be seen in Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery.
Although there were many applicants, on January 21, 1891, the Board of Commissioners unanimously elected Dexter S. Gaster to the position of Superintendent of Police. The police force numbered 325 at this time. The story is that during an inspection of the hundreds of officers, Superintendent Gaster was needed and when he was found, his badge was re-pinned upside down with the statement, "Now you will stand out." Gaster adopted the upside-down badge and this became the tradition for each following superintendent.
With the death of Superintendent Gaster on August 13, 1901, Senior Captain John Journee was selected as his successor. On September 12, 1901 he was commissioned as the Superintendent of Police. The year 1904 witnessed a reorganization of the Department in line with Act 32 of the Legislature. On July 27, 1904, the Mayor was placed in authority of the force with the power to appoint two Commissioners and an Inspector of Police and abolishing the title of Superintendent. Superintendent Journee was elected as the new Inspector of Police and served until June 2, 1905 when E. S. Whitaker was elected.
Inspector Whitaker held this position until January 2, 1908 when William J. O’Connor was elected and he served until his death on November 29, 1910. He was succeeded by Senior Captain John P. Boyle who acted as Inspector of Police until February 10, 1911. The board met on this same date and elected James W. Reynolds as Inspector of Police. Reynolds joined the police department in 1893 as a supernumerary clerk and through perseverance, fair dealing and uncompromising honesty, he had become the chief of detectives.
Mechanization began under Inspector Reynolds. One motor patrol wagon and four motorcycles were the first units. The other units consisted of seven horse drawn patrol wagons, one run about, two buggies and fifty-five horses. On January 1, 1912 there were 399 paid members of the police department and by the end of 1915, there were 520 policemen, 126 of which were listed as supernumeraries. One of Inspector Reynolds accomplishments was to organize a vice squad specially charged to stamp out street solicitations. Reynolds was at the height of his career when on August 2, 1917 he was killed by a suspended officer. Senior Captain John P. Boyle took over the reins of the Department until Frank T. Mooney was selected. Mooney further motorized the force and started a system of records.
In December, 1920 Guy Molony was appointed Superintendent of Police, fresh from the service as an Army Colonel and recognized as a professional soldier. At the time he took office, there were only five precinct captains, with the other seven being commanded by a sergeant. He succeeded in having each station placed under the command of a captain. By 1922 the Department was operating 33 automobiles and 21 motorcycles and was beginning to concern itself with a new-born problem-vehicular traffic in the commercial district. It was also in 1922 that the nucleus of the present Juvenile Bureau was formed with the employment of a policewoman and a protective officer. The same year the Department was nationally recognized as the only one in the nation thoroughly equipped for first aid in all of its bureaus and precincts. Also, tear gas was introduced as a new weapon which had been successfully tested in the first World War. A retiring Grand Jury of 1925 described Colonel Molony’s administration as one of the best in the history of the New Orleans Police Department.
Thomas Healy replaced Colonel Molony as Superintendent in 1925. His "100 miles per hour police service" came into being on August 18, 1926 with the acquisition of five armored motorcycles, capable of developing speeds of 100 miles per hour.
On January 1, 1929, Captain Theodore Ray succeeded Superintendent Healy. Into his lap fell the series of bombings, dynamiting, fights, shootings and assaults, all associated with a serious street car strike. In addition to this situation, the force was pressed to continue its crusade against slot machines, vice and other forms of gambling.
Colonel Hu B. Myers became the head of the Police Department when Superintendent Ray resigned on May 5, 1930. Night Supervisor George Reyer was elevated to a new post created by the Police Board as Chief of Police on April 1, 1931. Police Headquarters was moved from Tulane and Saratoga Streets to the new Criminal Courts Building located at Tulane Avenue and South Broad Streets. New procedures were set up including a program of physical training in a well equipped gymnasium. On October 7, 1931 a new police show-up room began operation. George Reyer became acting Superintendent when Colonel Myers resigned November 11, 1931. The Chief’s job was abolished.
Superintendent Reyer had an eye towards modernization and plans were made for a radio station and an up-to-date communications center. Radio Station WPEK began broadcasting information to cruising vehicles on May 14, 1932. There were no two-way sets, however, the system proved effective in that it eliminated minutes in having a unit proceed to the scene of a serious offense.
In April of 1932, the first memorial service for the Police and Fire Departments was inaugurated at the St. Louis Cathedral. The Reverend J. A. Bornes, O.M.I. was the Chaplain at the time.
Colonel A. Adair Watters was appointed Superintendent to replace Reyer by the new Mayor, de Lesseps S. Morrison on May 6, 1946. During 1946 the Police Board was abolished and its functions transferred to the Mayor. An Advisory Board of three members was formed. Colonel Watters was able to raise the unreasonably low police salaries and also grant police one rest day each week in addition to 15 days annual furlough. (The furlough was later raised to 21 days a year.) In the summer of l947 the Police Emergency Unit was organized.
On February 15, 1949, Joseph L. Scheuering, former Chief of Detectives, took office after the resignation of Colonel Watters as Acting Superintendent and was confirmed on June 17th. Superintendent Scheuering set about to reorganize and streamline the force. He relocated the Juvenile-Bicycle Division from Headquarters to 2552 St. Philip Street. The "Our Beat" was the name given to the very first publication of the New Orleans Police Department. The first issue, Vol. 1; No.1 was issued on October 20, 1949. The Police Bureau of Investigation was formed on August 4, 1954 and three special investigators were appointed for the purpose of handling all cases involving allegations against police personnel.
Colonel Provosty A. Dayries was appointed Superintendent of Police on May 5, 1955 when Scheuering retired. He had served as Assistant Superintendent since February 8, 1954.
Banister was elevated to the position of Assistant Superintendent. Partly due to the internal investigations, Superintendent Dayries recognized the need for a "pat on the back" and organized the Citations and Awards Committee to recognize meritorious service by members. When the District Attorney’s opinion was that no further action was evident by his office, Mayor Morrison and Superintendent Dayries announced on May 16, 1956 the investigation of alleged police irregularities was concluded. Banister left the Department and Joseph I. Giarrusso was appointed Deputy Superintendent.
On August 15, 1960, Colonel Dayries retired and Giarrusso was appointed Superintendent of Police thus marking the end of the scandals and the beginning of a new era for the Depart-ment of Police. Mayor Morrison resigned as Mayor to accept the appointment of Ambassador of the Organization of American States. The Honorable Victor H. Schiro was elected by the City Council to serve the unexpired term and was later elected for two full terms.
Mayor Schiro appointed Giarrusso to continue as Superintendent and some of the greatest advancements were made during this administration. Giarrusso stressed professionalism, instituted a cadet program and opened ways for in-service officers to further their education and secure a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology at Loyola University. A National Crime Information Center (NCIC) was established to connect the City of New Orleans with 46 other state agencies throughout the United States. In l964, the Department received a new look, new and old police cars were painted a soft blue and white and an ordinance provided distinctive flashing blue lights. This made it easy for the public to recognize police vehicles as opposed to other types of emergency services.
Giarrusso recognized the need for better communication between the police and the public and on September 15, 1966, the Community Relations Division was formed. In June of 1968, when the Police Administration Building was completed, Headquarters moved from the Criminal Courts Building where they had been housed jointly with Criminal Courts since 1931.
When Moon Landrieu became Mayor of the City in 1970, he then appointed 21 year veteran, Clarence B. Giarrusso to succeed his brother, who retired, as Superintendent of Police on August 25, 1970. He chose Retired Captain Louis J. Sirgo as Deputy Superintendent and Captain Sidney H. Cates as his Deputy Chief for Administration. In February, 1971 the Urban Squad was implemented to concentrate in densely populated low income housing areas which had a marked impact on criminal activity. In September, 1972 the Felony Action Squad was formed for the specific purpose of armed robbery prevention in the areas of actual and/or predicted high criminal activity. Also at this time the Alcohol Safety Action Division was formed in an effort to reduce alcohol related auto accidents.
One of the greatest tragedies ever to befall the NOPD was when on December 31, l972 the first of a series of snipings and gun battles began between a lone gunman identified as Mark J. Essex and members of the Department. Essex was finally traced to the Downtown Howard Johnson on Sunday, January 7, 1973 where senseless murders were committed. At 8:50 P.M. when a military helicopter occupied by police riflemen was on its third flight over the roof, Essex ran from the cubicle firing at the helicopter and was shot. However, reports from several observation points was to the effect a second subject had also been seen so extreme caution was still exercised. Finally, about 2:00 P.M. on Monday, January 8, police officers entered the roof area from all sides and no other person was found. Also, a systematic search of the entire area of the motel proved negative. The personal loss to the Department of Police was the death of Deputy Superintendent Louis J. Sirgo, Patrolmen Paul Persigo, Philip Coleman, K-9 Officer Edwin Hosli and Cadet Alfred Harrell. Numerous other officers and civilians were wounded.
On March 25, 1975 a ceremony was held to dedicate two monuments: One to name the Headquarters Plaza in memory of Deputy Superintendent Louis J. Sirgo and the second, containing the names of all police members killed in the line of duty since Superintendent David Hennessy in 1890.
After the tragic death of Chief Sirgo, Major Anthony D. Duke, a 27 year veteran, accepted the position of Deputy Superintendent. Then from March through September, 1976, Chief Duke supervised the affairs of the Department while Chief Giarrusso recuperated from an illness. In December, 1976 Chief Giarrusso was one of 21 Chiefs from major cities to complete the FBI’s first National Executive Institute in Quantico, Virginia.
In 1977 construction was begun on a much needed addition to the Headquarters Building for the expansion of several divisions and the integration of a computerized communications system for the expansion of several divisions and the integration of a computerized communications system. When the building was constructed in 1968, provisions were made to enlarge it without major structural alterations.
When Ernest N. Morial took over the reins of the city from his predecessor, Moon Landrieu, on May l, 1978, he appointed a citizens committee to interview applicants for the position of Superintendent of Police and asked that Giarrusso to remain until a new chief was selected. Giarrusso was praised as an innovative Chief who based his entire administration on the implementation of programs in crime prevention and law enforcement, many of which were adopted by other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.
On June 12, 1978, James C. Parson, a native and former police chief of Birmingham, Ala. was sworn in as Superintendent. He was selected from over 110 applicants. He soon announced a new look by changing the color of police vehicles to a darker shade of blue under a white top and accented by red and blue flashing lights, luminous decals and high intensity alley lights. New protections screens were added to improve visibility and to provide maximum safety for officers and prisoners. His command started being besieged with problems starting in l979 with dissension over the city’s offered pay plan for diminishing many benefits, including slashing both annual and sick leave. After a walk-out and with Mardi Gras being cancelled in Orleans Parish during a sixteen day strike, benefits were then restored with the new stipulation only for new hires.
On November 8, 1980 tragedy befell the Department when Fourth District Officer Gregory Neupert was found mortally wounded. After a confrontation between the alleged slayers and police, Superintendent Parson resigned on November 24, 1980 amid a groundswell of protests by various groups, and Deputy Superintendent Henry M. Morris was placed in charge on an interim basis. In assuming the leadership, Morris felt that the manpower shortage was his number one priority and although he felt narcotics was the cause of the majority of crimes, he had to reassign officers from specialized units to the districts in order to keep up with the calls for service. In January of 1981, Mayor Morial announced a new "hot line" program, entitled "Taxis on Patrol." The city’s 1200 radio dispatched taxicabs would now alert police to crimes and suspicious situations. The program of appointing civilian personnel to specialized jobs was expanded thus allowing additional police officers to be assigned to line functions. A program entitled "Teleserv" was initiated in which citizen volunteers assisted in handling minor complaints over the telephone, also freeing more field officers.
On April 16, 1981 Mayor Morial announced the appointment of Morris as Superintendent of Police and Warren Woodfork Sr. as his replacement. Continuing to address negative press and public criticism, Morris made extensive revisions in the Police Academy curriculum providing training in human relations and cultural sensitivity. Having increased the number of officers assigned to patrol, he now nearly doubled the Narcotics Squad, and promoted thirty officers as Field Training Officers. These promotions were the beginning of the Police Officer I - IV program designed to recognize and compensate officers based on their training experience. The Central Lockup and the House of Detention were transferred to the Criminal Sheriff in December, 1982 thus saving the city one million dollars. Also in December, the Eighth District was merged into the Third Police District and both the Urban and Felony Action Squads were disbanded. In August of l983, the only NOPD substation was opened on Peltier Street in eastern New Orleans to assist the residents from southeast Asia. As the Year 1984 began, significant improvements were noted in training, narcotics enforcement and crime prevention.
On May 12, 1984, the Louisiana World Exposition opened amid extravaganza ceremonies. This beautifully planned and executed Fair, exuding Mardi Gras charm, could only be located and enjoyed in New Orleans, the "City That Care Forgot."
Warren G. Woodfork was appointed Superintendent on January 20, 1985 by Mayor Morial when Morris retired. (Woodfork was the first police chief to break the tradition of wearing the upside-down badge.) Woodfork chose Yvonne Bechet as one of his Deputy Chiefs, making her the first female ever to receive such promotion. He later assigned Lieutenant Carol Hewlett to command the Seventh Police District, thus a first female to command a district. On April 9, 1986, Mayor-Elect Sidney Barthelemy announced that he would reappoint Woodfork
In February, 1987, Woodfork reassigned Hewlett to command the Narcotics Drug Abuse Unit, again becoming the first female to command this unit. Throughout his administration Woodfork sought creative programs and concepts to target the juvenile crime problem and the growing level of violence. It was felt that education, music and sports were the three important ingredients needed to lead young people. Through DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) police officers began teaching life skills in schools. A Police Youth Band was organized targeting youths 12 - l8 years old and the Police Athletic League (PALS) was created so kids could learn teamwork and other social activities.
Mayor Barthelemy announced on April 1, 1991 that Arnesta W. Taylor Jr., a 26 year veteran, would be the new Superintendent replacing Woodfork who had announced his retire- ment. He was officially sworn in on April 15th. Taylor had served as Assistant Superintendent of Technical Services since May of 1986 and Field Operations since November of 1989. Joseph M. Orticke was named to replace him in Field Operations. (Taylor followed in Woodfork’s footsteps and also wore a regular badge.) On his first day in office, Chief Taylor increased police visibility by putting into operation a "Special Task Force" in which over 60 officers and supervisors were deployed on a 24-hour basis throughout the city based on crime trends and patterns. A total of 804 arrests were made during the first eight weeks of operation, with 49% being felony arrests. This police visibility also endorsed his commitment to adopt a comprehensive version of "community policing." Taylor continued the youth programs and was instrumental in creating an NOPD Boy Scout Troop.
On January 2, 1992, Chief Taylor created a new Bureau entitled, "Management Services" and a third Assistant Superintendent to share the responsibilities of the Department. Taylor served until he retired effective August 1, 1993, at which time Mayor Barthelemy announced he would be replaced with Joseph M. Orticke Jr.
On August 2, 1993 Orticke was officially sworn in as the new Superintendent by Supreme Court Associate Justice Revius O. Ortique Jr. In the City Hall Council Chamber.
(Orticke, citing Henry Morris as his mentor, reverted back to tradition and wore his badge upside- down.) Orticke had previously been promoted through the Civil Service ranks on October 31, 1990 to the grade of Major, being the first Black Major in the history of the Department. He was the only officer besides Henry Morris to attain the rank of Major before being promoted to Assistant Superintendent. He also served in both Technical Services and Field Operations. Orticke’s first act was to promote Major Duane D. Johnson, a 19 year veteran, to Assistant Superintendent in command of Technical Services and Captain Mitchell S. J. Dusset, a 24 year veteran to Assistant Superintendent in command of Field Operations. The Department was restructured with some of the recommendations of the study performed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, particularly with the concept aimed toward community policing.
Mayor-elect Marc H. Morial announced that Joseph Orticke would remain as Interim Superintendent until he decided on a permanent chief. Morial was officially sworn in as Mayor on May 1, 1994. The New Orleans curfew law, one of the strictest in the nation, was implemented on June 1, 1994 with the hours: From June 1st to August 31th - 9PM to 6AM - Sunday through Thursday and 11PM to 6AM - Friday and Saturday; beginning September 1st to May 31st - 8PM to 6AM on Sunday through Thursday and remained 11PM to 6AM on Friday and Saturday. The curfew has done what it was meant to do - reduce the number of juveniles on the street after hours.
The Police Athletic League was combined with the New Orleans Recreational Division for a single unified effort to address as many of the city’s youth as possible, in supervised, structured safe recreational programs.
On October 13, 1994 during a press conference held in Gallier Hall, Mayor Morial announced that his search for a new Superintendent resulted in selecting Richard J. Pennington, who was an assistant chief with 26 years of experience in the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department. Mayor Morial then announced that Orticke as Major would be the Chief of Security for the New Orleans International Airport.
Chief Pennington retained Assistant Superintendents Mitchell S. J. Dusset and Duane D. Johnson to command Field Operations and Technical Services, respectively. The two new Assistant Superintendents selected were Captain Carol Hewlett to command Management Services Bureau and Captain Ronald Doucette to command Investigative Services Bureau.
Chief Pennington, after obtaining an in-depth overview of the New Orleans Police Department, faced problems ranging from manpower shortage, inadequate salaries, double digit rises in crime and a national reputation for widespread corruption. In January of 1995 he issued the Pennington Plan containing ten major elements regarding reform.
On February 1, 1995 Chief Pennington initiated his policing strategy focusing on high crime areas. First came the creation of a new 100 member citywide policing team known as the Community Oriented Police Squad (COPS). New Orleans differs from other American cities in that there are ten public housing developments. By virtue of a $3.4 million federal grant, three Community Empowerment Centers were opened in the Desire, Florida and B. W. Cooper Housing Developments, the three highest crime areas. Then four additional COPS Substations were established in the Iberville, Lafitte, C. J. Peete and St. Bernard Developments.
The Internal Affairs Division was abolished and the Public Integrity Division was created and put under the command of Major Felix Loicano. This division was relocated to 118 N. Rocheblave Street, an independent site away from Police Headquarters, giving citizens a sense of comfort when filing a complaint. An early warning system was instituted to monitor complaints made against individual officers.
In July of 1995, police officers and city employees received a 5% pay raise, the first in eight years. Another glaring problem was the condition of the aging police vehicle fleet. The officers not only needed new vehicles but Pennington also wanted to bring about a new image. This was accomplished by changing the vehicles to all white with police blue markings.
Pennington created a partnership with the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U. S. Marine Corps and the Louisiana State Police to enhance the training of upper management, mid-level management and first line supervisors on leadership and management. Their first course in ethics was given by the National Institute of Ethics. For the first time in the history of NOPD, all sworn officers received in-service training in ethics, values, conflict resolution, sensitivity and community policing.
In March, 1996, John N. Casbon succeeded in mustering tangible public support to align with the new Superintendent’s crime fighting efforts and the New Orleans Police Foundation was launched. This public-private partnership combined the resources and expertise of both sectors to have an impact on crime and the quality of life in New Orleans. Colonel Terry J. Ebbert, a 27 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, accepted the position as Executive Director. The purpose of NOPF was to provide substantial and systematic business assistance and make the NOPD operationally capable of reducing crime. After learning the very notable decrease in crime in New York City was attributed to consultant John Linder and former Deputy Commissioner of New York Police, Jack Maple, they were retained by the NOPF. Linder assisted in developing a plan and Maple implemented a process called COMSTAT, short for computerized statistics.
In September, 1996, the new state of the art Crime Lab, now officially known as the Scientific Criminal Investigation Division, was dedicated. (The ground breaking began in October, 1995.)
In his first State of Police Address on October 14, 1996, Chief Pennington stated the murder rate in the public housing development areas decreased by nearly 75%. Community policing initiatives carried over to affect the citywide murder rate, which led to an 18% reduction in murders across New Orleans. Pennington then announced as part of the restructuring, the Patrol Services Bureau was renamed the Operations Bureau. Major Ronal W. Serpas, a 16 year veteran, was appointed to Assistant Superintendent to command this Bureau. Chief Johnson remained in command of Technical Services. Assistant Superintendent Dusset was assigned to the newly created Office of Policy and Planning and charged with developing the city’s first comprehensive emergency management plan.
In addition to the problem of crime, the NOPD was also experiencing a personnel crisis with veteran officers being lured to other law enforcement agencies. After promising the City Council if it approved major pay raises for his officers, Penningtin guaranteed major reductions in the city’s crime rate. On January 10, 1997, one of the biggest pay raises in police history became official.
Throughout the Year 1997, crimes were down from 1996 in virtually every District in New Orleans reflecting a 45.8% reduction in murders with a total of 266 in 1997 compared to 350 in 1996. The total number of crimes was reduced from 54,012 in 1996 to 45,744 or a 24.1% reduction in 1997.
In 1998 Mayor Morial and Chief Pennington announced that New Orleans led the nation in the violent crime reduction among the 30 largest U. S. Cities.
On July 6, 1998 Courtney Bagneris, with a background of nine years experience in the City’s Finance Department, was appointed as the Chief Financial Officer for the NOPD. She was charged with the responsibility of preparing the yearly departmental budget for City Council review and approval.
In October, 1998, the City of New Orleans launched their official web site as http://www.nola.gov. A significant new feature was the ability to display crime maps indicating the locations of major crimes throughout the city. These maps are up-dated on a weekly basis.
In October, 1999, the New Orleans Police Foundation initiated a program with all of the local accredited colleges and universities to allow all commissioned members of NOPD to enroll or finish their college education. This was in line with the Department’s commitment to higher education.
The trend of improving the quality of life in New Orleans is evident by the headlines on November 3rd, 1999 in the Times Picayune Newspaper, "City outpaces U.S. reducing violent crime." According to the FBI statistics, nationwide violent crime dropped 6.42% but in New Orleans it decreased 18.43%. When the Year 1999 crime stats were released on February 23, 2000, the headlines read, "Crime Falls In Every Category For Third Straight Year." Murders dropped from 230 in 1998 to l59 in l999 or 30.87%. Violent dropped from 6888 in 1998 to 5932 in 1999 or a decrease of 13.88%.
At the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) 2000 Annual Meeting in Seattle on June 10th, Mayor Marc H. Morial accepted the prestigious City Livability Award for police reform. New Orleans received first place in the competition against 14 other cities with a population greater than 100,000. Another plus for the City is again placing "First" in the National Night Out" competition for the Year 2000. This annual event went from obscurity to national prominence beginning with 1st Place in 1996, 3rd in 1997, 2nd in 1998 and 2nd again in 1999.
The 2001 year-end statistics reported an overall increase by 6.66% with increases in all categories except for the crime of rape which fell by 7.11%. In comparison with the Year 2000, violent crime increased by 14.03%, murder by 4.43%, armed robbery by 18.18%, simple robbery 4.58% and assault 16.19%. Although murder increased slightly, 212 in 2001 compared to 203 in 2000, many of these crimes have been attributed to the use of illegal narcotics, domestic related incidents and the failure of conflict resolution. This category has been reduced by 50% in eight years - which in 1994 reported a total of 425 murders.
In August, 2001, when Serpas retired to accept the position of Washington State Police Chief, Assistant Superintendent Duane D. Johnson was promoted from the command of the Technical and Support Bureau to assume second-in-command of the New Orleans Police Department as Chief of Operations. Commander of the Technical and Support Bureau since 1993, he was responsible for the development of the department’s technology initiatives and support services. Significant achievements established the NOPD as a recognized leader in the areas of 911 communications, mobile data, crime analysis/COMSTAT, geographic information system mapping, automated ballistics/fingerprint identification, barcode evidence tracking, and other computer system infrastructures. He had also established innovative programs in false burglar alarm tracking and risk management auto accident reduction. In the capacity of Chief of Operations, his overall responsibilities include day to day control of the eight police districts, Special Operations Tactical, Traffic and Reserve Divisions, the Investigative Support Division, the Scientific Criminal Investigations, Gaming/Vice/Narcotics interdiction efforts, community policing initiatives and field command of all major events, such as Mardi Gras, Bayou Classic, Sugar Bowl and Super Bowl, as well as being the coordinator of local state, and federal investigations. He also leads the COMSTAT weekly meetings to track crime trends and plot strategies.
Also, at this time Lieutenant Marlon Defillo, commander of Public Affairs, was promoted to Assistant Superintendent to command the Office of Policy and Planning. Added to the supervision of the Research & Planning Division and CALEA were the Recruitment and Applicant Section and Public Affairs. Lieutenant Sidney Bournes was named to command Public Affairs. Chief Dusset assumed command of the Technical and Support Bureau consisting of the Education and Training Division, Administrative Duties Division, Communications, Information
Systems and Services Division, Electronics, Central Evidence & Property, Records and Identification Division, National Crime Information Center, Special Officer Section, Risk Management and Facility Support Sections.
On November 17, 2001, the Department received the official "Certificate of Accreditation" from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). In 1998 the Department’s Research and Planning Division was assigned the daunting task of applying for national accreditation. This involved a self assessment phase beginning with a comprehensive review of the 443 standards contained in the CALEA Standards Manual and then revising the operations manual and other needed changes.
When Chief Pennington announced his candidacy as Mayor of the City of New Orleans shortly after Mayor Marc Morial failed in his bid to seek a third term, he entered the race with near-universal name recognition. After granting Chief Pennington a leave of absence from the NOPD, on Monday, November 26, 2001 Mayor Morial promoted Chief Johnson from the command of the Operations Bureau to Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department. At that time he also promoted Captain Edwin Compass from his position as commander of the First Police District to Assistant Superintendent, second-in-command Chief of Operations. He chose Captain Newell Smith to command the First District. In the February 2nd election with a field of fifteen candidates, Chief Pennington and Ray Nagin were selected as mayoral runoff candidates. However, in the March 2nd election, in a very close race, the citizens of New Orleans chose Nagin as the next Mayor.
On Sunday, May 3rd, Chief Pennington returned to work as Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department to fulfill his contract until May 6, 2002. Chief Johnson returned to the position of Chief of Operations, Chief Compass returned to Captain, Commander of the First Police District and Captain Smith returned to the position of HANO liaison. On May 6th Mayor Nagin requested Chief Pennington to continue as Superintendent while his transition team made their recommendations.
On Tuesday, May 21st, 2002 Mayor Nagin held a press conference to announce that he had chosen Captain Edwin P. Compass III, a self described "street cop" to lead the New Orleans Police Department. Compass, a 43 year old district commander with 23 years of experience, has proven his commitment to the City of New Orleans. Mayor Nagin stated what impressed him most was Compass’ "track record of success" in implementing community policing programs that helped bring down the city’s homicide rate, particularly in public housing developments. He also said he was swayed by Compass’ affinity for technology, a priority for his administration and that he was able "to envision us working together as a high-performance team reaching our goals in this community."
On Wednesday, May 22nd, Chief Compass announced his selection of Assistant Superin- tendents: Duane D. Johnson would continue as second-in-command Chief of Operations and Courtney Bagneris as the head of the Office of Fiscal and Personnel Management. He appointed Warren Riley, former Fifth District Commander, to head Policy and Planning and Captain Gerald Ursin, former Assistant Commander of Public Integrity, to command Technical Services. Chief Compass appointed Lonnie Swain, former Seventh District Commander, as a fifth Assistant Superintendent to command the Public Integrity Division. Chief Dusset chose to retire and Lieutenant Defillo resumed command of Public Affairs, while Lieutenant Bournes returned to Special Operations.
The Superintendent was officially sworn-in at l0:00 A.M. on Friday, May 24th before a standing room only audience in the City Hall Council Chambers. Compass delivered an informal address that stressed the importance of partnership between citizens and the city’s 1640 police officers. He said, "Putting people in jail is important, but that’s just recycling statistics. We have to change people’s mindsets and form a community of people working together in a partnership." Then after reading a poem titled "Bridge Builder," Compass promised to build a department of bridge builders to bridge this city and unite it like never before. Compass’ first official act as Superintendent was to proceed to Southern University at l:00 P.M. to swear-in the fifty graduating members of Recruit Class 145.
On Monday, July 8, 2002, Chief Compass, in continuing his assault on rising crime rates, announced several initiatives. One is a Witness Support Program that asks clergy members to urge their congregations to participate in a volunteer program that assigned people to support witnesses to crime. He stated, "Criminals intimidate our witnesses. We have to take that power away from them." The presence of witness supporters sends a clear message the community, the clergy and the congregations are behind the witnesses.
Chief Compass learned Friday, July 26, 2002, that second in command, Assistant Superintendent Duane Johnson retired to become Director of Security and Emergency Preparedness with DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations Company which manages the U. S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Chief Compass stated, "Johnson dedicated 28 years of public service to the citizens of New Orleans and helped to make the New Orleans Police Department one of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies.
Replacing Johnson as Chief of Operations is Deputy Chief Gerald Ursin Jr. who just two month earlier had been appointed Technical Services Bureau Chief. Other changes were Fourth District Commander Steven B. Nicholas became Deputy Chief of Technical Services and Captain Ronald Doucette, commander of Records and Identification, was assigned commander of the Fourth District. Seventh District Commander Captain David Kirsch replaced Doucette in Records and Identification and Captain Timothy Bayard formerly of Policy and Planning became the Seventh District Commander.
On August 5th, 2002 Chief Compass released the year’s second quarter crime statistics which showed a 12.75% decline, as compared to the same period last year. Total violent crime dropped 18.76% and total property crime fell by 11.59%. Further reported is 134 murders as compared to l43 murders in 2001 or a 6.29% reduction.
On September 5, 2002 Chief Compass held a press conference to address the citizens on the milestone of his first one hundred days in office. He gave an outline of his administration’s work over the past three months which included community involvement programs, Department initiatives, as well as the challenges ahead. The preliminary Citywide Third Quarter Crime Statistics for June, July and August, 2002 revealed that although the violent crime trend total was down nearly 27%, murder was up 5.9%. He challenged citizens as a community and families to help address the growing number of murders. Eight murders have occurred in New Orleans so far this year compared with the same time last year. He asked citizens to get involved by calling police not only on felonies, but also bitter arguments or domestic disputes to help prevent potential homicides. Chief Compass said one of his most important initiatives is starting a witness-protec- tion program and he is also reaching out to help inner-city youths, and to reduce crime. He has joined the executive board of the local Boy Scouts of America which is already starting chapters in public housing developments, plus he is working on improving existing programs such as "Cops for Kids" and the karate program that began in the Iberville housing complex five years ago. Also, the NOPD has partnered with the Louisiana State Police in "Operation Safe Streets" and will work jointly on traditional enforcement strategies in high crime areas.
On October 31, 2002 the 3rd Quarter Uniform Crime Report revealed that total index crimes declined 21.65%, as compared to the same period in 2001. Superintendent Compass stated, "I am very proud of the strides the NOPD has made in such a short period of time. The 3rd Quarter Statistics for 2002 represent the greatest reduction for any single UCR quarter since 1994. And, although crime is down in every category except murder, which increased 5.23%, there are still challenges ahead."
On November 1st, 2002 Chief Compass gave the oath of office to the 51 members of Recruit Class No. 146, bringing the Department to 1,603 officers. This is the lowest number of officers the Department has had since the budgeted strength of 1735.
On December 12, 2002 Chief Compass announced a change in his command staff. Assistant Superintendent Riley was named to serve as Chief of Operations and Chief Ursin to Policy and Planning, due to the confinement of Ursin in a local hospital with a chronic illness.
The 4th Quarter and Year End Uniform Crime Report statistics for 2002 were released on January 31, 2003. The total index crimes reported for the 4th Quarter covering October, November, and December showed an overall 21.21% decrease as compared to the same period in 2001. Year End crimes for 2002, as compared to 2001, showed total index crimes declined 13.50%. Total violent crime dropped 22.48% and total property crime fell ll.75%. Superintendent Compass stated the Department would continue to creatively and diligently develop crime fighting strategies to reduce violent and property crimes, however, murder remains a challenge. Murder increased 21.23% in 2002 as compared to 2001. Compass added that many of these murders are drug-related and are taking place between individuals who know one another. "The murder rate is not only the responsibility of the Police Department," Compass said, "It’s the responsibility of everyone. Asking all citizens and members of the clergy to help solve conflicts before they escalate and to support witnesses through the criminal justice process should help."
January 7th, 2003 marked the 30th anniversary of the tragedy known as the Howard Johnson incident in which a sniper identified as Mark J. Essex killed seven persons and wounded eleven others. His killing spree began on December 31st, 1972 and ended when he was killed on January 7th, 1973. Superintendent Compass hosted a Commemorative Service to honor and remember the officers killed in the line of duty and both police and fire officers who were wounded in the tragic events prior to and during the incident.
Assistant Superintendent Gerald Ursin retired on February 3rd, 2003, and at that time Superintendent Compass promoted Captain Daniel Lawless to the position of Assistant Superintendent and assigned him the command of the Policy, Planning and Training Bureau. Assistant Superintendent Warren J. Riley remained second-in-command, Chief of Operations; Assistant Chief Courtney Bagneris continues heading the Office of Fiscal and Personnel Management; Assistant Superintendent Steven B. Nicholas remains in charge of the Technical Services Bureau, and Assistant Superintendent Lonnie H. Swain commands the Public Integrity Bureau.
Chief Compass has promoted over fifty officers since taking the helm and made numerous reassignments. Captain James Scott was assigned to the Third District to replace Chief Lawless; Captain Thomas Smegal was assigned the Fourth District to replace Captain Doucette, who retired, and Captain Lawrence Weathersby was assigned command of the Fifth District. Also, Captain Ellington retired and Captain Anthony Cannatella was assigned commander of the Sixth District. Captain Orazio remains in the First District; Captain Hosli in the Second; Captain Bayard in the Seventh, and Captain Dabdoub in the Eighth.
On Tuesday, February 11th, 2003, Mayor Ray Nagin, during a City Hall Reorganization, named Col. Terry Ebbert the Chief of Homeland Security and placed him in charge of Police, Fire, the Office of Emergency and Preparedness, Emergency Medical Services and the Orleans Parish Communications District (the 911 Center). Robert Stellingworth replaced Col. Ebbert as the President and C.E.O. of the New Orleans Police Foundation.
On April 11th, 2003, U. S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, during a whirlwind visit to New Orleans, flanked by local and state law enforcement officials, singled out Chief Compass as he gave high marks to the area’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force for protecting a wide range of potential targets. He mentioned the Final Four college basketball tournament, last year’s Super Bowl and the annual Mardi Gras.
Superintendent Compass was named Loyola University’s 2003 Alumnus of the Year; profiled as a New Orleanian impacting our community by the New Orleans City Business in the 2003 Success Guide, and was named the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International’s "TOP COP" during their law enforcement appreciation ceremony on April 16, 2003.
On June 3rd, 2003, Chief Compass announced Captain Tami Brisset would assume command of the First District until an investigation is completed into the allegation that First District crimes may have been reported improperly. He reassigned Captain Novel Orazio to the Communications Division and Captain Rose Duryea of Communications to replace Captain Brisset in the Crime Lab.
The 2nd Quarter, April, May and June, 2003, crime statistics showed an increase in murders of 16.67% which was significantly down from the 53.33% increase for the 1st Quarter, January, February and March, 203. For the six months time frame, total index crimes declined 19.09% with a 7.54% reduction in violent crime.
On Saturday, July 26, 2003 about 8:57 P.M. security cameras recorded three men wielding assault rifles striding boldly into a carwash and begin firing. The two intended victims survived but several cars and two homes in the area were bullet-riddled. The surveillance tape led to the identification of the perpetrators and ultimately in their arrest. This success initiated a goal for the future to have high-tech surveillance cameras installed throughout the city in "hot spots."
The 3rd Quarter July, August, and September, 2003 crime statistics showed a slight increase of 0.86 percent, as compared to the same period last year. Total violent crime declined by -4.27 percent and a slight increase in total property crime by l.80 percent. The most noticeable reductions for the 3rd Quarter were declines in the murder rate which dropped by -7.14 percent and the armed robbery rate which decreased by -23.57 percent. Superintendent Compass said, "In the 1st Quarter of 2003, there was a disturbing 58 percent increase in the murder rate, as compared to 2002. This increase prompted revised NOPD strategies, which have resulting in the encouraging 3rd Quarter drop in the murder rate. Although the overall number of murders for the first three quarters of 2003 exceeds the number for 2002, the rate is not increasing, but, in fact, is now decreasing. And by continuing our crime-fighting strategies and the partnerships that we have with state and federal agencies, I am hopeful there will be fewer and fewer murders being committed."
During a ceremony in Police Headquarters on October 27, 2003, Superintendent Compass promoted Lieutenant Jeff Winn, a highly decorated 18 year veteran, to Captain and assigned him to command the First Police District. Winn, who served seven months as a gunnery sergeant with the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing Headquarters Military Police Detachment in Kuwait and then Iraq, had just returned the first part of October and had been assigned to the First District. Superintendent Compass also commended Captain Tami Brisset who had been serving as interim commander. She was reassigned to command Inspections.
The crime fighting initiative begun in April, 2003 entitled “Operation Full Court Press” and identifying a problematic 7-square mile area was responsible for more than 13,400 persons being arrested for crimes ranging from violent felonies to local, state, federal offenses, and outstanding warrants. One of the positive impacts was the more than 222 guns taken out of this area and citywide, more than 2000 guns confiscated by other district and unit officers. Although this operation targeted all crime, the second quarter category of murder was significantly lower with an increase of 16.67% and in the third quarter a 7.14% decrease.
The year-end UCR Report for 2003, as compared to 2002 showed total index crimes declined by 6.84%. Total violent crime increased 0.88% and total property crime fell by 8.15%. Although for the entire year, the category of murder had an increase of 6.61%, however, the Fourth Quarter (October, November and December) experienced a double digit decrease of
Partnerships have been strengthened with the District Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, the United States Marshall Service, the State Police and the Criminal Sheriff’s Office.
Superintendent Edwin P. Compass III announced that on January 30, 2004 Assistant Superintendent Lonnie H. Swain, Assistant Superintendent Daniel E. Lawless would be honored with the very prestigious Charles E. Dunbar Jr. Career Service Award, and that Captain Jeffrey J. Winn would receive Honorable Mention. These awards are sponsored by the Louisiana Civil Service League to honor Mr. Dunbar, who was responsible for the enactment in 1940 of the state’s civil service laws, and then rewrote them in 1952.
The UCR Report for the First Quarter of 2004 as compared to the First Quarter of 2003 showed a 10.71% increase in total index crimes, however, total violent crime declined by -.10%. Most noticeable reductions were declines in the murder rate which dropped by -20.29% and simple robbery which decreased by -17.14%. Property crimes, particularly burglaries and thefts showed the greatest increase that were significant factors in the overall rate being up by 10%.
On May 2, 2004, Mayor Nagin and Chief Compass led their second review of NOPD members in Jackson Square and the following memorial mass in the St. Louis Cathedral was in memory of Captain Anthony Genovese, Sergeant Robert Harrison, Sergeant William Matthews and Officer Terry Demesme who died of natural causes.
During a promotional ceremony held on July 6, 2004 Chief Compass made NOPD history when Bernadine Weaver Kelly became the first African-American female to be promoted to the rank of Captain. She was assigned to command the Community Oriented Policing Squad (COPS). During his tenure thus far, Chief Compass has made over 100 promotions strictly on qualifications and nearly half have been African Americans and females.
On July 7th, 2004, Chief Compass was pleased to announce the continuation of the 9th consecutive year of the COPS FOR KIDS Program. This program is a summer enrichment program designed for children of public housing.
On July 10, 2004, 53 year old Alva R. Simmons died in his New Orleans East home. Officer Simmons was a 12-year veteran assigned to the Second District when on March 18, 1985 he responded to a “burglary in progress” call and was shot. During a second operation, Officer Simmons lapsed into a coma in which he remained until his death.
On July 14, 2004, 37 year old George A. Tessier III, a ten year veteran assigned to the Traffic Section, was one of the officers standing on Interstate 10 waiting to escort an 18-wheeler filled with military explosives to Belle Chasse. At this time another truck veered, striking the 18-wheeler, Officer Tessier and the two police vehicles. Officer Tessier was rushed to the Medical Center of Louisiana where he died from injuries sustained in the accident.
Superintendent Compass announced the redeployment of support personnel within the Police Department to street duty in response to the recent increase in murders in the city.
Effective Thursday, July 15, 2004, commissioned members, who serve in support capacity, were assigned to already identified “hot-spots” within the city. Louisiana State Police Troopers were on hand to augment New Orleans Police Officers. This initiative would continue indefinitely. Superintendent Compass stated, “We will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to make this city safer. The redeployment will continue until I see a further reduction in violent crime in this city. I also have a message for the criminals - your days are numbered. We will use every resource possible to arrest you and send you to prison.”
On July 20, 2004, when Chief of Operations Warren J. Riley took a leave of absence from the NOPD to announce his candidacy for Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff, Chief Compass announced his replacement would be Assistant Superintendent Daniel E. Lawless. Chief Compass then promoted Captain Marlon A. Defillo to the position of Assistant Superintendent and assigned him the command of the Policy and Planning Bureau to replace Chief Lawless.
As Chief of Operations, Lawless’ overall responsibilities include day to day control of the eight police districts, Special Operations Tactical, Traffic and Reserve Divisions, the Investiga- tive Support Division, the Scientific Criminal Investigation Division and Gaming/Vice/Narcotics interdiction efforts, community policing initiatives and field command of all major events.
As Chief of the Policy and Planning Bureau, Defillo was responsible for directing and reviewing departmental studies and surveys and consists of Research and Planning, the Training Academy, the Recruitment and Application Section and Homeland Security. Chief Defillo also retained command of the Public Affairs Division.
On July 20, 2004, both Mayor Nagin and Chief Compass endorsed a proposal by the New Orleans Police Foundation and the District Attorney’s Office to implement COMSTAT, a new process which will lead to improved communication and coordination in fighting crime. The program is modeled from the NOPD COMSTAT and will track cases from the time of arrest until the conclusion of the case in the criminal justice system. Improved communication between the district attorney’s office and the police department will lead to an increase in successful prosecutions.
On August 6th, 2004, Superintendent Compass released the 2nd Quarter Uniform Crime Report statistics for the months April, May, and June, 2004, as well as statistics for the first six months of 2004. Although the overall index crimes reported showed an increase of 3.70%, as compared to the same period last year, total violent crime declined by -3.44%. The category of murder reflected a -9.09% decrease; rape a -5.88% decrease and armed robbery a -25.35% decrease for the 2nd Quarter. However, for the first six months, murder declined -4,37%; rape -2.88%, and armed robbery -14.05%. Superintendent Compass said, “The men and women of this agency are working extremely hard to reduce crime and violence in our community. With the additional resources added from various support units and the community’s assistance, I am confident that we are making this city safe by removing violent offenders from our neighborhoods.”
On August 9, 2004, 27 year old LaToya Johnson, a three year member of the department assigned to the First District, was shot and killed as she and her partner attempted to serve an order of protective custody. As Officer Johnson confronted the suspect, a 38-year-old male reported by his family to be mentally unstable, he produced a gun and fired. He continued to exchange gunfire with Officer Johnson’s partner and other back-up officers until he was fatally wounded.
On September 8, 2004, Superintendent Compass honored the families of Police Officers Alva Simmons, George Tessier and LaToya Johnson with a framed Purple Heart Medal. Also, during the ceremony, eight Medals of Merit, five Medals for Lifesaving, three Medals of Commendations, and four Medals for Achievement were presented to members of the department along with plaques for the two citizens who assisted an officer in the saving of a life. Chief Compass also presented Mr. Patrick Taylor a shadow box containing an upside-down Superintendent Badge and a Warrant of Appointment dated February 4, 2004. This was the date Mr. Taylor announced the creation of an Educational Endowment Fund for the New Orleans Police Department. In 1987, Mr. Taylor started honoring the men and women of the NOPD by not only purchasing the award medals, but also by adding U. S. Savings Bonds. From l987 through the Year 2003, he has purchased and presented 13 Medals of Valor, 183 Medals of Merit, 181 Lifesaving Medals, 52 Purple Heart Medals, 741 Medals of Commendation and 461 Medals for Achievement.
Chief Compass was honored with the Annual 2004 Monte M. Lemann Award presented by the Louisiana Civil Service League during the Fortieth Annual Luncheon held on October 29, 2004. This award is presented to outstanding citizens of the State of Louisiana who have made the greatest contributions to the advancement of Louisiana’s Unique and Superior Merit System of Public Employment. It was noted that Chief Compass had also previously received the prestigious Charles E. Dunbar Career Service Award also sponsored by Louisiana Civil Service.
On October 30, 2004, 45 volunteers, who had been in training, graduated from the newly established NOPD Homeless Assistance Collaborative Project. This program was put into place as a tool to effectively handle homeless persons and to establish an alternative to arrest for minor offenses.
The 3rd Quarter UCR Crime Statistics (July, August and September) were released on November 12, 2004. The total index crimes reported showed a decline of 2.66% as compared to the same period last year. Total violent crime increased by 9.9%, but total property crime dropped by 4.8%. Reported crimes from January through September, 2004 showed a slight increase in total index crimes by 3.4% but murders for the nine month period dropped by 4.7%.
After narrowly losing the hard-fought November 2nd election for Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff, Assistant Superintendent Warren J. Riley returned from his leave of absence to the New Orleans Police Department on November 14, 2004. Returning to his position as Chief of Operations, he resumed the overall responsibilities of the day to day control of the eight police districts, Special Operations Tactical, Traffic, Mounted and K-9, the Reserve Division, the Investigative Support Division, the Scientific Criminal Investigation Division, and Gaming/ Vice/Narcotics interdiction efforts, community policing initiatives and field command of all major events.
Assistant Superintendent Daniel Lawless returned as Chief of the Policy and Planning Bureau and Assistant Superintendent Marlon A. Defillo returned to the Civil Service rank of Captain and command of the Public Affairs Division.
On December 6, 2004, Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Superintendent Compass held a press conference to announce that the New Orleans Police Department had received re-accreditation by CALEA (The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies). In 1998, a formal contract was signed to begin the process and the national accreditation was achieved in 2001.
On December 22, 2004, Superintendent Compass announced that for the first six months of 2004, the New Orleans’ murder rate decreased by 14 percent which was more than double the national average, which was 5.7 percent. This first six months of 2004 was compared to the first six months of 2003.
When the Louisiana Civil Service League announced the recipients of the twelve Charles E. Dunbar Career Service Awards and the eight Honorable Mention Citation winners, it was noted that four members of the NOPD would be honored for the Year 2004. Assistant Superintendent Daniel E. Lawless, Lieutenant Bruce E. Adams and Lieutenant Lido Schaubhut received the Career Service Award and Captain Jeffrey J. Winn received Honorable Mention.
The Fourth Quarter Uniform Crime Statistics covering the months of October, November, and December, reflected a total of 6917 Total Index Crimes for 2004 and 7888 for 2003, marking a decrease of -12.31% but reflecting a decrease of -15.10% in the violent crime total. The category of rape decreased -29.69%; armed robbery -23.44% and simple robbery -31.25%.
New Years’ Eve ended with the report of “no injuries” from falling bullets, although seven men were arrested for the illegal firing of guns, and other calls reporting gunfire were received. New Year’s Eve has always been a battle with the urban tradition of firing bullets into the air in celebration. Since December 31, 1994, when Amy Silberman, a tourist from Boston was killed by a falling bullet from such celebratory firing while walking on the Moonwalk, the New Orleans Police Department has been striving to educate the public of this danger.
New Orleans ended 2004 with 264 murders, marking a -3.28% decrease from the Year 2003 and ending a troubling four-year run of increases. Police statistics show that most of the murders in 2004 weren’t random acts of violence but some sort of relationship between the killers and the victims. Of 192 murders studied, only 31 cases involved strangers. The overall violent crime total was 4468 for 2004, as compared to 4589 for 2003, marking a -2.64% decrease but with a -11.27% decrease in the category of rape; a -9.92% decrease in armed robbery and a -15.11% decrease in simple robbery. The Total Index Crimes of 28,784 for the Year 2004 and 29,024 for the Year 2003 reflected a -0.83% decrease.
The morning of January 1, 2005 began with securing the results of the New Year’s Eve Falling Bullets Campaign. Only one report of injury was reported, but it was unknown if the eight-year old child was struck by a falling bullet or exactly what caused the injury. Seven (7) individuals were arrested relating to illegal firing of weapons or possession of firearms.
Mardi Gras began with the first parade on Friday, January 28th, 2005 and ended Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday, February 8th at 12:00 Midnight with mounted officers clearing the way down Bourbon Street for street cleaning. There were l574 total arrests: 235 state offenses, including narcotics, DWI and outstanding warrants and the remaining l339 arrests were minor municipal offenses such as public intoxication and lewd conduct. Five people were arrested for illegally carrying weapons.
On March 28, 2005, the NOPD and NOFD played their third annual Guns-N-Hoses Basketball Game with NOPD winning. The games benefit the NOPD’s Tragedy Fund and the NOFD’s Memorial Fund.
Recruit Class 153 graduated on May 11, 2005 with forty-seven members of NOPD and one member with the Reserve Division completing their Phase I academy training. They will now begin the Phase II in-service training.
On May 16, 2005, members of the NOPD were proud to support the Louisiana Law Enforcement Torch Run that benefits the Special Olympic athletes in Louisiana.
A meeting was held June 6, 2005 with the community leaders of the St. Bernard Housing Development regarding the police department’s plan to improve their relationship with residents.
On June 27, 2005, twenty nine recruits were accepted to the NOPD’s Training Academy as part of Recruit Class 155 after going through a rigorous and thorough background process.
The NOPD joined thousands of officers in a national crackdown on Impaired Driving being held August 19th through September 5th to include the Labor Day Weekend. The motto was “You drink and drive, you lose."
Nineteen volunteers graduated on August 25, 2005 after thirteen weeks of training to become Crisis Transportation Service Technicians. The CTS in an emergency van staffed by auxiliary civilian volunteer personnel (CTS Technicians) who assist NOPD Patrol Units in processing and transporting mentally disturbed persons.
Superintendent Riley was proud to announce that on December l7, 2005 the Corps of Compassion along with Feed the Children, Bay Community Ministries, the Police Association of New Orleans, and the New Orleans Fire Association honored the men and women of NOPD, NOFD and the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services First Responders by hosting a Christmas Celebration.
Superintendent Warren J. Riley announced that the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration had one reported injury apparently due to celebratory gunfire and one individual was arrested on weapons charges related to the illegal possession of a firearm. From midnight to 6:00 A.M. the Department recorded l9 calls regarding illegal gunfire as compared to l08 calls received for the same time last year.
The Fourth Quarter Crime Statistics revealed a drastic drop in crimes for the Year 2005 compared to the Year 2004. The most dramatic drop occurred in the number of murders – 9 in 2005 compared to 64 in 2004 for a -86% decrease. But all violent crimes, including murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and armed and simple robberies were also down – 115 in 2005 compared to l,085 in 2004 for a - 89%. Non-violent crimes, burglary, theft and auto theft, were also down – 2,071 in 2005 compared to 5, 832 in 2004 for a -64%.