A new era in the New Orleans Police Department began this week. New police chief Ronal Serpas opened to the public all district and department-level COMSTAT meetings, weekly stat-heavy sessions in which top brass discuss the latest in neighborhood crime, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The open-door policy is a huge departure for the police department, which, despite distrust among citizens, has long held data and information on crimes close to its vest.
Maj. Bobby Norton, backlit by a wall-mounted monitor that displayed a map dotted with icons depicting reported crimes in one police district, hopes citizens come in for a peek behind the curtain. “As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into this,” he said. Though members of the media far outnumbered citizens at Tuesday’s meeting, Norton said he hopes the transparency will be a step in restoring confidence in the agency. Each of the seven other police will follow suit. The district sessions are smaller weekly meetings that precede a department-wide COMSTAT meeting, also held each week. That too, under Serpas, is open to the public.