As the number of cops on the streets of New Orleans shrinks, a new report by a watchdog group criticizes the police department for continuing a practice the group sees as wasting officers’ precious time, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. On an average day in 2013, officers booked into jail about 10 people who were wanted by other parishes for minor non-violent offenses, such as missing court for traffic citations, said the Metropolitan Crime Commission. Each arrest can take an officer off the streets for one to three hours, said commission president Rafael Goyeneche. That’s one fewer officer to handle emergency calls, worsening the long wait times people may suffer when they call 911.
Instead, officers should issue summonses to appear in court to those offenders to save time, Goyeneche said. Such inefficiencies have become more acute for a force that has shrunk by 25 percent since 2010, he said. The report’s release comes a week after Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux called for more efficiency int he police department, including a better way to respond to false burglar alarms and minor traffic accidents.