Attorney General Eric Holder has released more than 100 pages of policy changes designed to reform the New Orleans Police Department. The consent decree filed in federal court comes after a scathing assessment of the troubled police force.
Attorney General Holder says the consent decree is so detailed and so thorough that it could be used as a national blueprint. For the next four years, federal authorities will oversee a department that Holder says was unconstitutional and discriminatory.
“These are problem that are long in the making. It started long before this administration and will not be cured overnight. You will not see immediate results, but over time and with hard work I am confident that we’re going to see a different New Orleans Police Department and a better New Orleans.”
The consent decree establishes standards for training, the use of force, conditions for interrogations and arrests, and officer supervision. It also regulates how police can work on outside paid details. It comes after several officers were prosecuted for shooting unarmed civilians and other serious crimes committed immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who asked for federal help with the consent decree, says the document is a turning point for the whole city.
“Today marks only a milestone in what will be a long journey back for the New Orleans Police Department. The people of this city should rest assured that together we will fundamentally change the culture of the NOPD once and for all.”
Landrieu says implementing the consent decree could cost $11 million a year for the next four or five years. Budget talks are about to begin with the New Orleans City Council to find the money. The consent decree must now be approved by a federal judge.