The New Orleans Police Department’s public integrity bureau, given wide leeway under Superintendent Warren Riley, operates independently and with little restraint, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. It polices the police, investigates citizens’ complaints and internal squabbles, squashes careers or sets the record straight. Riley unapologetically said he wants officers to worry that someone could be looking over their shoulder at any moment.
Riley estimates about 85 to 90 percent of his officers are honest and hard-working. It’s the remaining group — no small number — that gives his department a black eye. The department has ample reason to watch its own closely, given its history. In the last month alone, New Orleans officers sparked a barrage of unsavory headlines: an officer was indicted on aggravated rape, kidnapping, extortion, and public bribery charges; another reassigned amid a payroll fraud probe; and another pleaded guilty to malfeasance after taking money from people he arrested. The public integrity bureau’s staff of 28 uses wires, surveillance, decoys and drops — all covert tactics commonly seen on television cop dramas. They set up stings worthy of major crime kingpins. Two FBI agents work in the bureau, determining if any of the investigations warrant federal charges.