Lately NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas has been announcing and canceling so many programs that citizens of New Orleans have begun to question his leadership.
On 2/14/2012 Serpas announced that the NOPD would begin attaching saucer-sized bright orange stickers to houses they have searched for drugs, whether or not drugs were found or arrests were made. These searches would be executed would be made based on citizen tips through Crimestoppers. Serpas said the stickers would be visual proof that the NOPD was listening to the public’s complaints. Read the story in the Times Picayune.
The stickers read: “NOPD has served a narcotic-related warrant or checked this residence as a result of a Crimestoppers Hotline Citizens tip.”
On 2/15/2012 an NOPD spokesperson announced that the policy announced the day before was DOA due to a lack of public support.
It’s great that New Orleans citizens are speaking up, and making a difference. It’s great that our voices are being heard.
Just last month Serpas canceled another policy due to public opinion — the one where the NOPD published the criminal histories of murder victims in a press release. Kati Reckdal and others at the Times Picayune wrote about it, it went to the national press, I blogged about it, and hundreds of others tweeted their disgust with the policy.
And then Mike Ainsworth was shot and killed doing an heroic act, and crimes he committed decades ago — LSD and marijuana possession and distribution — were published in the obligatory press release. God knows how many angry phone calls and letters the NOPD must have fielded after that.
Within days, Serpas reversed the policy. Read about it in The Lens.
In a nutshell: We here in New Orleans are screaming for real leadership to provide real solutions to our crime problem. Serpas heard us… and tried a few public relations tricks to appease us, collectively. He tried some very visible, very broad-stroked tactics to make it look like the NOPD are on it — but he’s learned that New Orleanianss can’t be placated like that. I am glad he’s listening to us.
Our next chorus might be to demand that Serpas hire more police. We’ll see how this all turns out over the next few months.