For the first time in six years, the FBI will have two agents working full time within the New Orleans Police Department’s internal affairs unit to ferret out corruption and investigate possible civil rights violations on the part of city police officers, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Federal and local public safety officials, who announced the move yesterday, called it another step toward reforming the city’s troubled police force.
“It’s the right thing to do at the right time,” said David Welker, agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans division, He said the move did not signify a takeover of the Public Integrity Bureau. “This relationship is not designed to make the FBI the NOPD’s Big Brother,” he said. Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas portrayed the arrangement as an important partnership that will better the New Orleans police department. He said that his department requested the FBI’s presence. “These two agents will work closely with us on systems of corruption, on civil rights investigations and to help in our in-service training programs,” Serpas said.