We call for the urgent implementation of:
1. Career Criminal Bureau (CCB)- The District Attorney’s initial efforts with the Violent Offenders’ Unit, while commendable, are not sufficient to the magnitude of the problem• Create a Specialized Unit of Assistant District Attorneys within the DA’s Office to effectively prosecute repeat offenders and violent predators.
• Hire a staff of six prosecutors with a minimum of eight years of trial experience each. Compensate appropriately for experience and track records of performance: at a salary level of $80,000.•Fund the supplemental requirement of $20,000 per position above the state and federally funded base, a total of $120,000 in salaries and another $30,000 in payroll taxes for a total of $150,000, through the City Council and Mayor.
• Align and partner CCB with a experienced investigators in the NOPD to build cases against career criminals and violent offenders.
2. Community Prosecutor Unit
• Create a Community Prosecutor Unit of 8 additional District Attorneys to be assigned to the 8 police districts to improve communications with NOPD.
• Permanently house these prosecutors in those districts assisting officers to make quality cases.
• Screen the district cases before forwarding them on to the District Attorney’s Office, effectively directing cases to the Career Criminal Bureau and other sections of the DA’s office.
• Facilitate continuous on-the-job training for officers in how to build better cases for prosecution.
3. Criminal Justice Accountability and Reporting Program• Metropolitan Crime Commission has partnered with Citizens For 1 Greater New Orleans and other civic organizations and is training volunteers to technologically track crimes through the criminal justice system from arrest through trial and incarceration or release.
• Track and report quarterly to the public on the effectiveness and efficiency of the of the NOPD, the District Attorney and the Judiciary to promote accountability and transparency.
• We call upon all branches of the criminal justice system to provide support and allow full information access to enable effective development of reports.
4. More Boots on the Ground
• For immediate relief, The Police & Justice Foundation will work with the NOPD to engage 50 retired police officers as civilian contractors in administrative positions to relieve officers of administrative duties so that more will be free to patrol and protect.
5. Integrated Justice Information System
• The Orleans Parish Information Sharing and Integrated Systems project (OPISIS) is a partnership between the New Orleans Police Department, Orleans Criminal Sheriff, Orleans Clerk of Criminal Court, Orleans Criminal District Court, Orleans District Attorney, Orleans Indigent Defender Program, City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation.
• The goal of project is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice system operations by increasing information sharing across agencies, streamlining business processes and promoting both transparency and accountability.
• The OPISIS project is in Phase 1 of development with all the partner agencies actively participating in OPISIS Governance and planning.
• Key development areas currently include creating electronic subpoena service capacities, instituting shared evidence management and tracking, and identifying the most vital system wide information exchanges that need to be automated.
• We call for full funding to see this critical project through completion.
Senator Mary Landrieu has committed to support Federal funding for Initiatives 2, 4 and 5. We call upon the Mayor, the Governor and the full Louisiana delegation to support these initiatives that are estimated to cost $6 million.
II. Medium and Longer Range Initiatives that we will work to see funded and implemented:
• Video Surveillance- Complete installation of extensive video surveillance program with state-of-the-art wireless remote cameras strategically located in high crime areas. Install video surveillance in all police patrol cars to enhance law enforcement and transparency and trust with the public.
• Law Enforcement Recruitment, Professional Development and Retention
• NOPD- Provide regional police training and professional development for our police force. Support establishment of a regional facility. We also call for the review of compensation and career development plans for seasoned police officers so that New Orleans may retain our experienced officers long-term.
• Assistant District Attorneys- Develop recruitment, professional development and career pathways that promote service for three to eight years. The CCB will serve as a career path model to motivate performance and retain experienced prosecutors.
• Restore Criminal Justice Facilities – Immediately secure the release of allocated federal funds to the City Of New Orleans and commence the full restoration of the district police stations and district attorney’s office buildings.
• Regionalize War on Crime- Good progress has been made on sharing crime intelligence regionally. We call for more progress. We support regional efforts to address police training and intelligence sharing.
• Offender Reintegration Program – Prior to prison release, evaluate needs for reentry services for parolees such as those related to mental health, drug rehabilitation and job training to effect successful reintegration into society and to reduce the probability of return to crime.
• Drug Rehabilitation Program- Secure facility to treat and rehabilitate addicted users. Free State block grant funds ear-marked for this purpose.
III. Applaud and Support the introduction of the following new resources to fight the war on career and violent criminals:
• Deployment of federal agents and resources from FBI, ATF and DEA; Thanks to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and US Attorney Jim Letten for infusing substantial federal resources into the City criminal justice system focusing on the worst offenders.
• Dept of Justice victim and witness assistance specialists Thanks to Senator David Vitter and the DOJ for providing the leadership and resources that coordinate witness and victim assistance programs in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Witnesses and victims needs will be addressed thereby increasing the likelihood of continued cooperation which is necessary in all successful prosecutions.
• Establishment of a federally funded crime lab. New Orleans has been without a crime lab for over 18 months. Within 60 days, we will have a federally supported and fully funded crime lab up and operating at UNO. This is a huge step in effective prosecution. We applaud efforts of the many dedicated professional it took to lay this path forward.
• New Community Policing Program Civic organizations at the request of the Police Chief Riley have engaged Lee Brown and his team to support the community policing program already initiated by Chief Riley. Lee Brown and his team are well underway in their efforts to assist NOPD with additional effective strategies for the war on violent and repeat offenders in our community. We applaud the Chief Riley for bringing in Lee Brown’s group and enhancing Community Policing.
• Family Justice Center DOJ has committed up to $3 million in funding to create a domestic violence victim support to assist victims of domestic violence and their families.
• Video Surveillance installed in crime hotspots.
• Deployment of the National Guard and State Troopers,
We the Crime Coalition members pledge to monitor elected and appointed officials and hold them accountable. We will disseminate the published results of Criminal Justice Accountability and Reporting Program and monitor funds appropriated for initiatives. We insist on performance and will illuminate failures to perform.