Council member says the city needs a new police chief in the midst of next year’s budget approval process
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “We need a new Chief, period. We need a new Chief,” says New Orleans City Council Vice-President JP Morrell.
Councilman Morrell didn’t hold back his feelings about NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.
“You can repair the hull of the Titanic over and over, but if the captain keeps driving it into an iceberg, nothing will change,” says Morrell.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think we need new leadership on the Council. That’s just where we are, unfortunately,” says Chief Ferguson.
Morrell’s comments came as the Council worked to approve the city’s 1.5 billion dollar budget.
25 million dollars will go towards an incentive package for the NOPD to recruit and retain officers, but council member Morrell questioned whether the problem could be fixed with money.
“No matter how much money we throw at these officers, we’re not listening to them,” says Morrell.
“It’s our responsibility to communicate with one another and work together. Unfortunately, in this toxic climate, we’re in today, it does not allow for that,” says Ferguson.
Council President Helena Moreno says a survey her office recently conducted showed that most NOPD officers are dissatisfied with the department’s management.
“86 percent of respondents say they were dissatisfied with the NOPD, mentioning cronyism, favoritism, and only being promoted on who you know and not on your ability and experience,” says Moreno.
“Given the survey, they responded the management at this place is terrible. We are ignoring what officers are saying,” says Morrell.
When asked about the survey, Chief Ferguson says he believes management is doing a great job.
“We engage our officers on a daily basis, looking for opportunities to improve what we’re providing. I think we’ve done a hell of a job over the last several months with our Mayor and identifying things that we can do differently,” says Ferguson.
The Council approved the incentive package for recruitment and retention, but it didn’t include the part of the plan to cover health insurance premiums for officers.
As for accountability, the Council requires several departments to give quarterly updates throughout the year.
“If things are working great, then let’s continue them, but if they are failing, we must quickly pivot and spend our money other ways,” says Moreno.
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