Mayor Asks for Federal Assistance to Transform NOPD
Yesterday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who took office on Monday, asked the Justice Department to assist in his efforts to transform the NOPD.
"I have inherited a police force that has been described by many as one of the worst police departments in the country," Landrieu wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. "The assessment is made based on several indicators including the number of violent crimes, incidents of rape, and malfeasance by members of the police department. ... It is clear nothing short of a complete transformation is necessary and essential to ensure safety for the citizens of New Orleans."
There are at least eight ongoing federal civil rights investigations into the NOPD; our partners at the Times-Picayune suggest that the letter shows the new mayor's intent to "get in front" of what's largely seen as "inevitable federal intervention."
And today Landrieu announced a new police chief. Ronal Serpas, head of the Nashville Police Department, is expected to take the reins after Nashville's flooding emergency passes. Serpas, who served as second-in-command to former NOPD Chief Richard Pennington from 1996-2001, replaces Warren Riley, who resigned on Monday with the change in administration.