NEW ORLEANS – The NOPD continues to be on the right track as it works to meet the standards set within its federally mandated consent decree, according to survey results compiled by federal monitors.
On November 11, the Consent Decree Monitor’s office released the results of its Third Biennial Survey on the NOPD’s Consent Decree. The purpose of the survey is to measure public perception of the NOPD’s reform efforts, and includes representative samples of NOPD personnel, the general public and detainees within the Orleans Parish Justice Center.
The surveys were conducted between October and December 2018. Click here to read the survey results.
Compared to previous survey results in 2014, community responses to the survey provided the following:
- Perceptions of recent contact with NOPD officers improved across several specific items including explaining reasons for a stop, officers giving subjects opportunity to explain themselves, officers doing their job and general satisfaction with how they were treated by officers and overall experience with police interaction.
- The community continues to have a lowered belief that corruption exists within the department.
- More than 50 percent of those surveyed either strongly agree or agree that past instances of scandals involving the NOPD do not reflect the current department’s operations.
- The community’s belief that the NOPD’s commitment to procedural justice and fairness remained steady overall.
In the same time frame, responses by polled NOPD officers include the following:
- More than 50 percent of NOPD officers surveyed also said they strongly agree or agree that the department is a better organization than it was two years ago.
- More than 60 percent of NOPD officers said they strongly agree or agree that the department is receiving more community support than it was receiving two years ago.
- Officers’ perception of the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau investigations continued to improve, including a decline in the number of officers who feared punishment for making an honest mistake.
Detainee perceptions of the NOPD continued to improve, as reflected in the 2018 survey results. Additionally, one of the largest changes showed that 80 percent of detainees said that NOPD officers informed them of their rights upon arrest. This number was up from about 33 percent in 2014 and 60 percent in 2016.
“In short, the 2014, 2016 and 2018 biennial surveys collectively demonstrate that officers, detainees and the community continue to perceive NOPD as moving in the right direction,” the report reads.
The Consent Decree was crafted by the NOPD, the City of New Orleans and the U.S. Department of Justice to transform the NOPD and to secure the benefits of a constitutional police department for all. Standards within this decree focus on clarifying policies for officers; officers having respect for all members of the community; training for officers to ensure procedural justice and constitutional policing; thorough and competent internal investigations into police use of force and misconduct allegations; and strengthening and maintaining partnerships with the community.
“The results of the most recent biennial survey indicate the goals of the Consent Decree are being realized,” the survey report reads.
NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said that the results show citizens feel that many aspects of the consent decree have improved, and vowed to continue efforts to improve the department on all accounts.
“These survey results show that the NOPD has made and continues to make significant progress toward completing the parameters of our federal consent decree,” Ferguson said. “Our department will continue to work tirelessly to provide fair and unbiased policing no matter with who we come in contact, and to continue improving relations with the public. It takes all of us working together to continue our mission of building a stronger and safer New Orleans in which to live, work and play.”
In addition to working toward full compliance with the Consent Decree, the NOPD also continues to see marked improvements in its crime fighting numbers. This includes currently being on pace for lower rates in violent crime categories of homicides and armed robberies in 2019 – after seeing a 30-year historic low homicide rate in 2018 – while also seeing increases in the number of officers on the street through graduating new officers from academy training to the field.