Silence Is Violence

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week (Event Calendar)

NOPD Task Force update 1

Date: Sat, Mar. 20, 2010

The search for a New Orleans Police Department Superintendent is well underway. The overarching goal is to find 3-4 extremely well-qualified candidates for chief, from whom Mayor-Elect Mitch Landrieu will make a final appointment. SilenceIsViolence is proud to participate in this important project.

To date, the Task Force has received input from current law enforcement and criminal justice members; from external consultants with experience researching and matching successful law-enforcement managers to cities who need them; and from those most impacted by the successes and failures of the NOPD: New Orleans residents and community members. Together, this input is being compiled into a profile for the police chief who will lead New Orleans to a new standard in public safety for every citizen.

Creating a Profile for the New Orleans Police Department Superintendent: The voices coming together to create the profile of the next chief.

Public input: Public input has been collected during the NOPD Task Force’s first public meeting on March 11, and through nearly 1,000 public surveys submitted since March 5. In addition, Task Force members continue to solicit and receive ideas, concerns, and suggestions regarding what the community wants in a police chief.

Law enforcement input: Task Force members Danatus King, Barbara Major, Patricia Jones, Ralph Capitelli, and Darlene Cusanza have reached out personally to New Orleans law enforcement officers, organizations, and unions. NOPD administrative and managerial strengths and weaknesses are being examined through these ongoing conversations.

Task Force input: The experts and community leaders who make up the NOPD Task Force continue to guide the process while representing all New Orleanians.

The Profile: Characteristics of the next Police Chief.

This Profile is still being formulated. Based on public input to date, New Orleanians are primarily interested in a Chief ready to take on corruption; address the issue of race head on; work with citizens; communicate; and instill the NOPD with professionalism, transparency and real accountability. In particular, the following characteristics and priorities have arisen repeatedly in surveys and comments:

Experience in cities with high levels of violence.

Specific strategies for dealing with repeat offenders.

Experience in community policing.

A plan for how community policing will work in communities with different socio-economic and population density realities.

Specific strategies for working with social aid and pleasure clubs, Mardi Gras Indians, and other New Orleans cultural traditions.

Dedication to constructive interactions between police officers and citizens, including: police out of cars, participating in neighborhood clean-ups, and other community-building events.

Dedication to youth intervention and alternatives to incarceration.

Proven strong leadership skills.

Experience leading a large, diverse police force.

Experience collaborating effectively with other criminal justice agencies (district attorneys and public defenders, judges, federal agents).

A plan for advancing technological systems, both for the sake of criminal justice processes and for public information.

Experience in intervention and prevention.

· Dedication to professionalism and discipline.

· Willingness to conduct evaluations of existing officers.

Understanding of the unique cultural, social, and demographic realities of New Orleans, and their implications for public safety.

No history of corruption or brutality charges.

Open to public oversight; willing to work with the Independent Police Monitor.

The role of technical advisors: Resources for the NOPD Task Force.

International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP): The Task Force has engaged the International Association of Chiefs of Police to assist in identifying, recruiting, and assessing candidates. The IACP is recognized as setting the standard for thorough, probing, and successful searches. Based on the input provided by the public, current law enforcement officers and organizations, and NOPD Task Force members, the IACP is helping to finalize the profile of the next police chief and to post the announcement for the job. In addition, the IACP will assist the Task Force to reach a list of finalists by compiling lists of candidates and making recommendations for interviews and visits.

Additional advisors: The following organizations and individuals with specialized insight into our search process and/or the New Orleans Police Department are available to the Task Force for advice:

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); Police Executive Research Forum (PERF); Chief Bill Bratton (formerly of Los Angeles and New York City); Lee Brown (former Mayor and Police Chief of Houston); Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly (NYC Police Department); Chief Richard Pennington (formerly of New Orleans and Atlanta); Bob Stellingworth (former President of New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation); Col. Henry Whitehorn (Police Chief of Shreveport).

As Mayor-Elect Landrieu has attested, there is no more critical decision he must make than the appointment of a qualified police chief. All of our voices are important to this decision, so please continue to send your perspectives and ideas over the coming weeks. SilenceIsViolence will be posting weekly updates through the remainder of the search. Visit www.transitionneworleans.com for more information on Mayor-Elect Landrieu’s transition.