Cutting the NOPD some slack

The other day, Kevin and I lambasted a plan to give New Orleans police officers free vacations to Las Vegas in the wake (literally) of Hurricane Katrina. We were both royally steamed at this plan.

FEMA apparently agreed with us, because when Mayor Ganin asked them to pick up the tab, they declined.

Our colleague, Paul, who has the unenviable “benefit” of actually living in New Orleans, disagreed with us, and outlined just why he did so.

In light of that, I’ve reconsidered a bit. I think I can go along with the trips, with a few caveats:

1) FEMA does NOT pick up the tab. They’ve got enough on their plate already, and the reports of their doings so far have ranged from OK to pathetic. (For one FEMA screwup that’s almost laughable, see here.) Asking them to do any more just doesn’t make sense.

2) Any police officer that deserted their post is fired for cause. They may also be considered to have forfeited their pension and other benefits.

3) Any police officer caught looting (especially those three useless swine captured on film in that Wal-Mart casually filling shopping carts with shoes and the like) are fired for cause and brought up on criminal charges. In the end, maybe some looters might be “pardoned” for their actions, but we HAVE to hold the police to a higher standard. They are given tremendous powers and authority, and as such any violations of that must be punished, and punished severely.

But the other cops, the ones who truly carried out their duties in the face of the overwhelming onslaught of the disaster… yeah, they probably do need, and have earned, the vacation. But I dunno about sending them off 750 at a time. (The initial plan was to give the trips to 1500 police and other workers, in two shifts.)

The National Guard is quite clear about their duties: they are to assist the police, supplement them, not replace them. The CO of the Guard has said that as long as there is a single NOPD officer there, that officer is in charge and they will help him — but they will NOT take the place of the police. And despite the General’s words, it takes a bit more than “a single police officer.”

As battered, gutted, inept, and corrupt as the NOPD may be, it still has the bare bones of a structure — and that structure is desperately needed now. And sending half of the remaining force away at a time would deprive the struggle to rescue and control the city.

FEMA FOLLIES
State Left New Orleans Police To Fend For Themselves

16 Comments

  1. Marc September 7, 2005
  2. Omni September 7, 2005
  3. epador September 7, 2005
  4. Matt September 7, 2005
  5. Mike September 7, 2005
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  7. ed September 7, 2005
  8. Faith+1 September 7, 2005
  9. Ken September 7, 2005
  10. steven September 7, 2005
  11. frankr September 7, 2005
  12. BoDiddly September 7, 2005
  13. rayabacus September 7, 2005
  14. anonymous September 25, 2005
  15. jb October 5, 2005
  16. NOEMS November 14, 2005