Serpas began with 10 principle statements that will provide overall guidance to the NOPD, and contains 65 specific points that, in a very direct way, mandate accountability for each and every employee of the department. (The complete document was emailed to NOcrimeline subscribers.)
At the same time, the department is committing itself to restoring the confidence and trust of New Orleans' families by working closely with individual neighborhoods throughout the 8 police districts to reduce crime and improve quality of life.
"This is a no-nonsense plan that integrates, many for the first time, a number of law enforcement best practices in the New Orleans Police Department," Serpas said. "Many of these programs have been or are being implemented; others will take effect in the coming months.
"New Orleanians expect me to restore their faith in this police department," said Serpas. "It is a responsibility that I take very seriously, which is why this plan repeatedly emphasizes the clear expectation that NOPD's rank and file will work to understand neighborhood problems at the grassroots level and work collaboratively to address those problems.
"The 65-point plan is broken down into four categories: Crime Fighting, Community Outreach and Transparency, Integrity-Accountability, and Hiring-Training-Labor Relations.
Key issues identified among the 65 points include:
• The establishment of Narcotics Investigation Teams in each district to attack street level drug issues.
• Revise the hiring standards of the NOPD to seek candidates who meet the highest standards of education, experience and show the greatest potential to succeed as police officers.
• The NOPD and Maj. Gen. Bennett Landreneau have reached an agreement to provide Leadership Training to Police Sergeants and Lieutenants at Louisiana Army National Guard facilities.
• The NOPD and Col. Mike Edmonson, State Police commander, are collaborating on a complete overhaul of NOPD annual In-Service Training and Recruit Training programs for 2011 and beyond.
• Prohibit officers from accepting "cash" payments for police-related secondary employment.
• Presumptive termination for any employee who makes a materially false statement with the intent to deceive.
• Presumptive termination for any employee, who knowingly makes, or causes to be made, a false or inaccurate oral or written report of an official nature.
• A new failure to report misconduct policy to hold employees accountable to report observed misconduct, or be sanctioned at a minimum to the conduct observed but not reported.
• A new failure to cooperate/withhold information policy. Absent a legal cause, it is a violation punishable in addition to the underlying allegation to fail to cooperate/withhold information.
• The establishment of a Violent Criminal Abatement Team.
• Supplying fingerprint kits and training to all patrol officers so that key fingerprint evidence at crime scenes can be collected and used to prosecute offenders.
• The establishment of an expanded and revitalized Citizen Police Academy.
• The creation of a Citizen Advisory Panel.
• The establishment of an EI Protector Program to engage the Hispanic/Latino community.
"This 65-point plan will put us on the road toward a more professional police department and a safer New Orleans," Serpas said. "But this is only a start. There will be much, much more to do even after the full implementation of all 65 points."
"I recognize there will be those in the police department who will disagree or object to some of these points," Serpas said. "They must understand that this plan is in the best interest of this city, the citizens we serve and the professionalism of our officers.
"If anyone cannot embrace these needed changes, we will replace them with dedicated police professionals who will."