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WWL>Topics>>4-16-14 3:10pm Angela: with NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas

4-16-14 3:10pm Angela: with NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas

Apr 16, 2014|

Angela talks NOPD recruitment with Chief Ronal Serpas.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well there are many positives when it comes to the New Orleans Police Department. We have incredible officers who know how to handle hundreds of thousands of people with strength and a good amount of heart. Whether it's money -- or last weekend's incredible French Quarter fest are police know how to keep things moving. An individually we have stellar officers who work hard for not enough love what they do. But we don't have enough police officers. We are historic lows down almost a third and dropping. The city budget has allowed for five training classes this year but the first one only garnered nineteen candidates. We may lose more than -- by the time these men and women graduate. And shall listen to some officers were losing more because of the major content in come with the change in how details are handled. And because of the lack of promotion of those ranked lieutenant and -- There are good things to report a budget that allowed for desperately needed new cars and new body cameras for officers. And there's major news that police as well as firefighters and EMS. We'll now be able to live anywhere they want and not be restricted to living in Orleans parish. These are real positives. But all the issues must be addressed to stem the flow from the NO PD. It's excellence is at risk as is our safety. And so we are still very grateful that today. Our last hour is with chief Ronald surpassed thank you always for coming thank you Angela is very good to be with you today all right bring a real lot to talk about what I wanted to talk. First about the recruitment and I know you've had this because we've talked about it this very aggressive Internet campaign. And I saw the numbers at like thirteen hundred people were interested in the got pared down to. 113. Who. Met the minimum requirements and 49 showed -- to take the test. And -- nineteen in the first class. I'm saying to myself that's good which could affect third what is signature. It takes time we did not recruit at all for the first three years we were together and that was a reflection of the budget that we had to deal with. People don't like to look backwards and I don't like look backwards but I have to tell you that what we inherited in May of 2010 is borderline on. Of server and it took us a lot of years to get through that so looking forward now now we have this full budget in place we can make the decisions to do continual -- Hiring police officers tough weather on do wanted to colonel Edmondson a sheriff Norman all share because meant. And you have to be the -- that they look to every day to say they are hiring and they are bringing people want. We're picking up steam and momentum is no question about that we're picking up more interest in our department. New Orleans is an amazing destination city look at all the independent data that shows that we're brain trust cities that were not to open -- city. And young people also or following that in policing as an example. We have 21 people now out of that group in nineteen we got two more certify this week so we'll move on we're gonna keep on we have 57 people and active background. And we have three examinations this month -- about twenty top thirty people -- Minimally what's happening is this the 21 people we have at least eight of them are from outside the state Louisiana. The class that we hired at the end of 2013. -- 2013 I should say. 30000 or 5% of that class was from outside the state Louisiana so to make sure that unclear. We want the bravest in the brightest of people who live in the -- once we want the bravest and the brightest of people who live in this region. And we want the bravest and the brightest of people who live in this nation to consider the NO PD is their choice. Okay both councilwoman Jackie Clarkson on our show earlier this week and other counts of what we've had. Are really saying it must be -- holistic approach that yes it's great that we or however you feel about it. That we have this residency issue resolved. But it's it's got to be more than that an -- Jack in particular but others said it has to also being. Education health. Maybe even housing help -- there's this working group and I remember saying. If this is a crisis and I think most people look at it -- that certainly you Paramount anyone. It has to go into crisis mode to make those decisions I'm asking -- if you're aware of the working. Group. Are they gonna make a decision in a month is going to be six weeks on other things this city can realistically do to get. More people interest not to be questioned. We are right now in the process of determining from -- Which is basically the clearing house of mortgage assistance and those types of questions what exactly can we offer we think we may have found some more. Interest in programs that we have to confirm that we give more choice to officers on where they might choose to -- lot where they might choose to buy -- home. We are going to continue to work closely with our colleges and universities who give tremendous to wish and discounts for police officers to get their education. As a result of that you can get a real increase in pay for people who have -- earned associates degree. And earned bachelor's degree or are masters and above they get extra salary as a result of that so that's another incentive. You know on the question of retention it didn't get as much focus as I hope it would. But police officer in rank promotions PO 234 had stopped since December of 2009. And working very closely with the FOP you know labor and management don't always agree but we do agree on some things and advancing our employees we both agree on. So the FOP stepped up to the plate they helped us create an online learning a track of on -- training programs so we can promote. Police officer twos and threes and -- each time they get promoted as a 5% terrorist. Bottom lines since the end of 2012 -- for motor over 400 people to police officer to victory. We have a police officer for register that's gonna have a more than a hundred names on that we're gonna promote. And we have a sergeants list of them pop act on a -- about 3035 sergeants and we have lieutenants test that's been announced to be given this next year coming up. So essentially there's been a lot of things that have been happening kind of under the surface that don't get a lot of attention. We bought a hundred cars last year are cops need to go choral work and that's our office we're -- another hundred cars this year. We have six or seven major capital projects to improve our facilities so that when you come to work and walls police facility. It's a brand new fifth district station it's a two year old seventh district station. It's nearly a 700000 dollar renovation of the third district station it's the complete renovation of the administrative building out of the laws he's training academy. We have challenges yet. But the good news oftentimes doesn't travel as quickly as the bad news and I gotta tell you. I do not expect to get along when -- paean panel -- But I will tell you when it comes to make in a real difference in moving this department forward. The FOP has helped me and help their officers a whole lot more than anybody else and I appreciate that in the journal of the fraternal order of police I mean. They stepped up and help us do on line training so people could be promoted police officer for -- for. We disagree about stuff. But I Italian. They have worked with us on some of the key issues and I'm very proud to say we've come together to make about a place. Well 400 officers going up the letter is it significant loosening -- a lot of under but that's the whole point I'm glad you brought -- company. When we promote the next round police officer fours. There's going to be virtually almost every officer who could have been talks would pay raise was touch -- Paris. Some offices whose records are ready to be promoted or who have other issues might not have received it over top and -- -- Arafat or 600 people will have received a pay raise. Through the promotions and the ability to say I did a good thing I had to do forty hours of additional training at the pass an examination for that. Solid we give it is a breeding and boredom in the offices really have to do new things. And again. These are the kind of things that don't get a lot of attention and that's why I like to be on your show because I guess the talk about some of that stuff too it's not a 32 interview nineteenth at 5 o'clock o'clock or 10 o'clock you know film at eleven. Mean these are really critical issues that we're making great headway on. No I think that is because one of the areas that night I hear from other alternative morale down is the lack of things. Post lived lieutenant sure that they the new system you have before you do the commanders. I was very criticized. I'll be very clear about that. My predecessor. Severely over promoted captains and majors I mean just severely and I came back here with the department that was about the same size as Nashville. As far as the note total number of people. We had nineteen captains in the national police department when I came back together we have over thirty. And as a result of that what my predecessor and actually done is told those lieutenants. They don't have a future. They don't have an opportunity there will never be a captain's exam because it's far too many people. That wasn't the key issue for while we do we did and it was certainly attendant out there you know all the people talk about that got to realize we were way over staffed on that question. What we decided to do was follow what a lot of police department in America are doing and certainly what private America does at some certain level. Being able to sit down and taken examination of regurgitate information as powerful. But at some certain level is going to be how did you perform over the last five years. What have you been doing to advance the career over the last five years. So we asked in the commission -- right the the naysayers to this have their right to their opinion that's fine -- except that. But what they fail to mention to the public at large is that the civil service commission agreed with our logic and used their rules to let us do this. So if the question is we need to have civil service protection. -- the civil service commission agreed that the superintendent. Has to have flexibility. In the most senior leadership positions on the police department to advance the changes we need to make. So the persons who don't support this -- fine but they'll never tell you that part that this actually was. Done at the request of and the approval of the civil service commission which is the protection of the employees. Will there be other captains and majors at some point aren't sure they'll be an examination one day you know I'm sure that they'll have to be but right now. We got to focus on the sergeants examine the lieutenants -- that's what -- don't. Stay with this we're gonna continue our talk with chief Ronald surpassed right after the we're talking with the police chief Ronald surpassed. And where we're talking about all the issues that need to talk about and and certainly it is hiring it is retention. A little bit more on the retention. Issue. Of we are hearing that we you are losing. Guys and in part it is because. Of so much of their income has been cut because of secondary employment -- the detail work. I know it's the consent decree but is there any compromise there that can be done where these guys could men and women and to. Could make more. I absolutely believe in the long run the changes that are being made in the page he -- system are for the betterment of the community. And the betterment of police officers. But what we're trying to change in these last few months is fifty years of practicing history and it's going to be a -- Talking about noon at the same way. When my uncle was a policeman in the late 1950s it's not changed since. The -- detail issues is always going to be a problem because promised it's always going to be a concern because we don't want loose side of the that we talk about page details also -- -- -- or work forty hours for the city and a lot of times you hear this debate about -- page details that is losses over. That the party had to work forty hours. The ultimate solution and you know that the mayor has been very strong and open casket through this on this question. How can we continue to make their regular day how can we make their regular working conditions. -- you know -- announced that didn't talk about -- we talk about retention but let me -- this so in 201011. And twelve and we really struggling to fix this budget. We have a -- policeman off. We average about a 130 separations a year for the last twenty years so a lot of times when you hear people say about a 112 people leave last year -- -- true. We gonna lose a 130 on average years you gonna have to. But one thing we did do and and really the man in the council ought to be credited for this is much else. When we act we we couldn't -- 1011 and twelve we never laid anybody off. We paid the increasing cost for their pensions which -- the increasing cost health insurance and the employees actually paid a little more on both of those well. So everybody's got to remember this is huge corporation. And hiring people is always the most challenging effort whether it's at WWL radio -- and whose department. But for those years we couldn't higher health insurance calls were on. Pension cost on we were all paying a little more employees but the city was also -- whole -- So at the end of the day. Now that we're moving forward a positive budget we know we have some room. And the question. Car. We're not make the mistake of the early ninety's I was here that you. People like Antoinette francs in those folks hired because we just opened the floodgates to say that we at a press conference -- we hope to people. Police chiefs and cities have made this mistake of the country. We're not gonna do that the people don't want that what they want -- do is make sure we get the brightest bravest people from wall ones from the region from the nation. And we're gonna do that and the retention packages getting stronger promoting people getting raises. Better equipment continuing to pay the health insurance cost continuing to pay the pension costs they -- that we pale as a city. You gotta take this thing and strong at the extra. Even the residency issue part of the comment once yesterday. And that is just -- me. It just glossing over what you just touched on. The need for higher pay absolutely and you know given the circumstances of the consent decrees and of them. The mayor is fighting in Baton Rouge to see if we can even tax ourselves to pay for. I don't think there's a citizen who doesn't think police should make more money. They shouldn't have to work these long details. Maybe an additional but not these long. Ridiculous ones because we want police who are tired. Absolutely but realistically will we ever get to the point where they are properly pay. I have no idea to be honest with you I've been doing this long time and I know the council would like to do another mayor would like to do it. But we also want a city that pays attention parks -- also -- just pays attention to roadways -- also -- a city that pays attention -- prevention and EMS. I get the benefit of being -- only the police chief. But the council really does have to balance all the issues in America has to balance all the issues so while I advocate what I want to cops to uterus. God bless them on one and again I'd wanna pay them as much as I possibly could. Because I know what it's like to be out there I mean you know I've -- -- police chief I had to be a police officer one time. But what we have to consider is that if we're going to have paid details. The officer model that we had before was no good it. I mean I left here to learn that a lot of other departments in the country were paid details. But they weren't doing at the way we did no longer so we need those changes and it's gonna have to take some time to work itself out. And I will admit to you and to the public. That the department of justice and the consent decree monitor in the police department the city. We have found places to compromise and agree we found ways to make sure. That we're not making decisions that are purposely. Disadvantage in the officers from what we originally thought in 2010. One of the most regrettable. One of the most regrettable. Things that I've ever heard is a order of corruption. -- if I found that we knew that there had to be changes we knew that there had to be a tightening of the -- if you will -- details. So what happens is we've got to put the right we got to put the right solution to the right problems so cents 2000 intent. We've gotten agreement from the DOJ on critical issues for example the dome is a place where you need to know about it before you go work there. So we're not rotating people like we originally thought was gonna have to happen. Churches and synagogues those are. More private relationship where people wanna feel so we've made an agreement on that that's good so I think that the officers. Need an advocate they need me to be their advocate they need -- OP to be their advocate. They need us to make good decisions but we. Cannot back off of we have to have reform and paid details stay with us everyone we're gonna continue our talk with the chief but now let's go to the -- Well our special guest today chief Ronald surpass them. Talking about all the issues that everybody has been talking about I wanna jump very quickly because I know the other night. I -- on channel four that you were at the Carrollton community meeting and you know. Everybody feels badly that what's been happening in that there and you were very blunt and and not in your observation of it. That I think coupled with the very graphic story of the woman. Who on green street who was attacked and and and then felt doubly hurt by how she was handled by the police. I remember when I read that I thought to myself. If I believe firm. Then either. Those those two police officers didn't care and they shouldn't be officers or they were just burned out in which case they shouldn't. But as a chief when you read something like that or -- something like that. What goes through your mind how did they get to that point. And in what can be done to fix them. I think the first thing that went through a mine was -- can't believe this in an -- and chief long enough to know I can't say that. And it's very bothersome to me. And the reason that's bothersome is not only did the victim of this crime the survivor of this crime felt like she didn't get the service that she deserved and I think she deserved. It also came on the heels of two days of amazing positive news. About a large organization with over 12100 employees who was going in the right direction. Now these two offices have a right to be investigated to have a right to give their questions and answers. At the end of the day. Our expectation is you treat people as if that was your family number and you can't get it wrong. I mean that's the simplest thing about policing if you treat people you know golden rule. So I'm gonna get the bottom and of these offices didn't do with it was supposed to do. Then I'm going to be in -- anxious to correct their behavior because look at all the good news that got lost. The and OCC survey came out. The arrest of two people are two groups of people who were involved in some horrific crimes in the -- good. One of which was the says story of repeat offenders in our community is just you know you can have the best police department in America. But if people keep coming in and out with no consequences to their criminal behavior we're not gonna get too much further down -- we have to work as a team on this question police prosecutors and courts. But these two particular offices. You know why would anybody. No matter how tired -- No matter how burned out you may be why would you ever ask somebody else to suffer for the and that's not the way to win this game the way to win this game is you give a great service and in the community demands that you be treated differently. What offices like this may have done. And what they do do is they hold the 80% of the people up who got great ratings from the public so put I don't know. If you look at the and OCC survey the individual contact between and walls police officer and a citizen nearly eight times out of ten is well gone. The 20% that are doing it wrong on hold and everybody back and I don't want them to be part of this. We don't need you that that right I'd rather have a thousand people really working hard than 15100 people have 20% of them -- against a separate. So we're gonna find out exactly how it happened and find out exactly what happened. My apologies go to any victim of crime and -- who felt like the officer didn't treat them the way they should entry because that's not what I'm here for as not worry about. Let's talk about the survey because there were an. Not only -- Europe men and women need to hear it. And Felix but but the citizens of the city just too because again as we were talking in a commercial so much of life is perception but let's talk reality. Reality is from that survey some incredible. Positive thing. Absolutely that's survey is done by a professional firm. They do these kinds of -- all over the country there's only a handful of police departments right now who are subjecting themselves of this kind of a measuring metric. Our police department just rely on the uniform crime report which is incredibly stoic which is incredibly flawed in its own purposes means -- not a good number. So we do these surveys on purpose and it's done independently by the people of the -- crime coalition. Is done with scientific efficacy nobody can question the science of it's over 6600 people randomly selected. Oversimplify over sampled for demographic equality. And what we find desist. We have the highest support we've ever had for officer honesty. For integrity and for cooperating with the public well over 60% -- three years ago it was down in the thirty's -- 40%. 60% of people on the general question are you satisfied with the police mean you only get to be you can be president was 50% plus one I mean -- we're moving in the right direction. And we're gonna get higher but one thing we saw as you dive deeper into the data. Is that the question to African American nor lenient there about sixty to 63% satisfied with the police department. And I'm white America white normally -- about 64% so nearly two thirds of the whites and African Americans and our community. Are getting our support they're seeing it and here's what's being driven by. When you ask the individual questions. You had a relationship with a police officer in the last twelve months how -- the eco. Almost always. Nearly eight out of ten people seven out of ten people say it was wonderful. That's what we're winning about one cop Bob himself handling a call. At night in the Daytona. That's survey continues to point us in the right direction. It shows us that nearly nine out of ten people who have their victim of -- prominent ones have been reported to the police department which generally means but the but the academic panel for a minute. When you have that high level of reporting its tends to indicate that people believe you care enough to know about it. When they think you can do something about it because in the nation the average reporting greatest 50%. So there are a lot of really good things in that survey. And you know -- I got to push the good things our cops need to know that the people are responding to them positively. But I can tell you this this is very quick answer. The Gallup organization recently released data where they interview 25 million workers in the American workplace on questions of job satisfaction and morale. Guess what they found out for the first time have. He got about 30% of any workforce in America is absolutely -- plus players who were common and there are farther with the greatest job in the world. He got 50% of the employees and any job in America they're just there to do their work and go about their life. And you've got 20% who tried to destroy the place purposely that's what they -- do -- destroy the place. Look at the -- CC -- we got about 70% more than people think the cops are doing a really good job when they talk to them personally and we got about 20% were still not getting that number. Same thing and anyway you go to any job in America. And we got to fix that. I just wanna thank you so much for taking time to talk to us we never permanent open invitation thank you and updating its communication and it and it's meaningful thank you thank you -- Ronald --

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