The exchange brought little new information to light about the recent holdups. And council members struck a mostly supportive tone with Police Superintendent Michael Harrison. But it underscored the extent of public concern about an overall uptick in armed robbery."The exchange brought little new information to light," as it says in the above quote. But I'm a little disappointed that some of the more fun quotes were left out of the Advocate's write up. For that you have to scroll through the live updates at Uptown Messenger where we find councilmembers asking about programs they seem not to know are already in place.
“Crime at this point in our city’s history is threatening the soul of the city,” Council President Jason Williams said. “Safety and security are fundamental building blocks that are holding our city together and we thank you for the work you’ve done so far in that effort.”
Councilman Brossett wants to know what incentives are in place to attract police officers. What about home ownership incentives? Brossett asks.Then there's this exchange where it looks like LaToya Cantrell really really wants a helicopter.
Banks offer low-interest loans to officers to buy homes in the city -- even approaching new recruits to pitch those programs, Harrison says.
Cantrell asks if NOPD has a helicopter.Cantrell also thought maybe it would be a good idea to see if we could fight crime with bribery.
No, Harrison says.
How much would it cost? she asks.
Millions, Harrison says.
It can't cost that much, she says.
It's not just the cost of buying it -- the maintenance and pilot are also very expensive, Harrison says.
But police do have access to a helicopter when they need it, Harrison says.
Wouldn't it help with foot pursuits? Cantrell asks.
"Other police departments have and use one," Cantrell says.
Police cars are usually faster, because the helicopter has to come from a helipad, Harrison says.
What about other incentives? Cantrell asks. Could officers eat at restaurants for free, or get free massages at day spas?But the best line probably has to go to Harrison who.. despite the lack of helicopters... is actually quite pleased with NOPD tech.
She's just looking for ways to show them more "love," Cantrell says.
Unfortunately, those kinds of perks would be considered gifts that would run afoul of police ethics -- not necessarily against the law, Harrison says.
The advanced technology, such as body cameras and other items, are also an incentive for prospective officers, he says.Well, okay. It was a ridiculous day all around. Notably the best statement about crime in New Orleans actually came the day before outside of City Hall as council considered a new local hiring requirement for city contractors.
"We're the James Bond of policing in America," Harrison says.
Finalized or no, the move delighted dozens of activists who arrived to clamor for the ordinance’s passage, bearing bold-lettered #BlackWorkersMatter signs and shouting on City Hall’s steps before the council vote.
“Bringing in the FBI will not solve the crime in New Orleans. Hiring more workers will solve the crime in New Orleans,” protester Divonite Almestica said.