In releasing a long-awaited consultant’s report recommending police reforms, New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley pledged to “professionalize” his department by carrying out a 71-point plan emphasizing community policing, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Working on a $238,000 contract financed by a consortium of business groups, consultant Lee Brown — a former police chief of Houston, Atlanta, and New York – produced the 188-page report, the product of six months’ work and more than 200 interviews with the New Orleans police rank and file.
The document addresses concerns ranging from the mundane – such as buying traffic cones for the police driving course – to long-term, complex problems such as fractured interdepartmental communications and an anemic training apparatus. Neither Riley nor the report addresses the current performance of the department. Instead, the report provides a lengthy list of recommendations – without identifying the specific weaknesses they seek to remedy. The report takes pains to note that the department faces unique challenges in the wake of the flood, and can’t be compared with other police departments. Brown stressed that all reforms will march forward under the “umbrella of community policing.”