New Orleans has tapped a police lieutenant just returned from Marine duty in Iraq to supervise a police district tainted by a crime statistics scandal. Last week, the First District’s former commander and four officers were fired after an investigation uncovered an alleged pattern of altering crime statistics to win crime reduction awards, the New Orleans Times-Picayune says.
Jeff Winn, 41, an 18-year police veteran, was named district commander yesterday. He served until early this month in Iraq as a gunnery sergeant.
The police Public Integrity Division reviewed about 700 police reports in the 1st District. It found that about 250 had been improperly downgraded to avoid being counted in the Uniform Crime Reports, which were used to gauge the performance of individual districts in quarterly competitions.
Last week, Police Superintendent Eddie Compass announced the elimination of the department’s crime reduction award. The First District boasted a 21.5 percent reduction in major crime from 2002, compared with 2001; the actual figure is 18 percent. Crime dropped 31.5 percent in the first six months of 2003 compared with the same period in 2002, not 35 percent as originally reported.
The fired officers have filed appeals with the Civil Service Commission saying that the disciplinary action taken against them was “arbitrary, unreasonable, and without any basis in fact or law to support the conclusion reached and the penalty imposed.”