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WWL>Topics>>8-25-14 2:10pm Angela: with Interim NOPD Chief Lt. Michael Harrison

8-25-14 2:10pm Angela: with Interim NOPD Chief Lt. Michael Harrison

Aug 25, 2014|

Angela sits down with new interim police chief Lt. Michael Harrison.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well Michael Harrison became an NO PD officer 23 years ago today he's the interim chief. Why did he want to become a cop. But wasn't about the world of law enforcement that called him. And now equally importantly. Why does he wanna be -- I asked that not to be facetious. This is a very tough job in very tough times. A community is crying out for more more officers and neighborhoods. More caring and committed officers. And more money for cops who -- today. Officers are crying out as they struggle to make enough money to the new office handling details. With pervasive morale issues. And with their own frustrations with not enough police on the force. In this city with so much going right. The number of people shooting others continues to haunt us. Children are killed and -- women or slaughtered. And our sense of security in every neighborhood is shattered. Michael Harrison has been around a long time he has worked from the ground up. Guess he is a new set of eyes when it comes to leading us out of the complexity. Of the situation. How can -- make us feel safer. How can you make the men and women in blue feel better. And what does he think can be done to stop the madness on the streets. Interim chief Michael Harrison is our guest for the next hour I am very flattered thank you very much for doing business. We have a lot to talk about the very first thing is. One we can go to day did you get a phone call you said comes somebody -- come to my office. Was literally out of the blue. It was a surprise phone call them. And we had a conversation and as a result of that conversation. He told me he had confidence in me to -- the north police department into the future. But wasn't. Just hello it's Monday morning. No we we we talked a little bit and then we met and as a result of those conversations. I conveyed to him that I with the person for the job and he told me the confidence in me to leave the. That's everything if you believe you can do -- if he can believe you can do it and now you're gonna do it it's so so let's talk as we as I was saying a little bit earlier. It would be a monumental challenge to I think be a police chief in a city like this in good times and I think we're -- going to a rough patch. On on many levels so my first question is where do you began. I begin looking at me and make sure that I'm the person and I am that person. And then we immediately began looking -- our leadership team to to know who -- help us take this appointment to the future of so original Friday. We promoted. Commander -- according to assistant chief he now -- field operations bureau and assistant chief believes investigative services bureau. And we promoted to -- the commander com. To launch Dupree was from two commander he was my assistant commander on the wonderful job in these New Orleans and now. He has the opportunity to lead the commander in the seventh district. And lieutenant Ron Stevens who with at the time of the first district promoted to commander now leading in the sixth district. And so -- Laura and both of them actually served as my assistant commander in the front before -- running served in the seventh district. Hit a wonderful job so how is very pro now. To get promoted on Monday and then that money -- the week to promote the real people. And now you have confidence in the people who are your team. We have confidence that we have the right leadership team in place we have the right -- that -- -- four. -- worked with them side by side for the past three years and I'm confident that long while without chiefs we were all on the lead this department in the right direction. I know Sunday you -- many churches you're your own as an ordained minister I love that. And recruiting. Recruiting. Did you get response we got a wonderful response I'm made it to four churches some people made the three -- -- What we. Went to 22 hall police officers from every bank. From the -- ranking officer all the way up to me the chief we have elected officials along with the outside in. In those 22 churches who was one message we are -- We're looking for qualified candidates many of whom we know we're sitting right there and congregations. And people in the congregations -- friends and family who who really wanted to do something great untold story. About me young man in 1920 years ago. -- a valid point because the Hyatt regency and I was doing really well having -- both engaged to be married but I knew I wanted to do something great. Something better and really couldn't find anything greater than becoming more please. Tell us exactly what I did and it's been a wonderful journey. So you became you join the force. And then you went to school. Actually -- the -- from school before -- com. But like what -- I need to work a little bit more and need to go to school so that's how it went for awhile. An image on the fourth actually got married while I was in the police. I got married. On the night of the endemic in parade in early on the operate working the next morning so it was -- with it and she's good within. -- That that's been my life that's been markers. And so it's been wonderful journey. Wasn't -- in the original. What was it about law enforcement to polish. It's wanted to be able to help people could find anything to do more greater than greater than being the police officer problem. I had an opportunity to see them working perfectly content with the police officer he was lieutenant at the time he lead -- -- -- -- captain and he meant to. Home until about watching him and watching. All the police officers that I really didn't have an expert as -- please often that -- And so that's that's what I wanted to do and didn't take me long for your that -- to. And you had to. Really an incredible career in -- 22 year 23 years just moving up moving up moving up to the commander of the seventh district. -- out today. That the interim chief okay. Let's talk some serious stuff. How are we going to keep. The guys -- men and women we have and and how are we going to really entice people to look at this it as a career. After three things are working on right now in those three things on about. On the same. -- Around murderer. Murderer and violent crime reduction so as we look a little at those three things they all work together now helped him. So my job is the increased demand council yesterday we -- we touched almost 22 churches we got the word out like never before we got an incredible response. We feel confident that we are going to get. More applicants than had we not gone out yesterday. As we move through that there are some initiatives that we are thinking through right now that will improve tomorrow. It sold by a meeting with the offices -- met with a group of them Saturday. In the fifth district they gave me a very good response they asked me about some tough questions and we answer those questions. And an answering those questions. They got to see that I am thinking about not only do I wanna be an advocate for the community which will be. But I wanna be an advocate for them and I want to be able to work with the mayor's office where with -- City Council and city government. Insure them that we're gonna get them the resources they need to do so as we move forward. Giving them the resources they need to do that increases. Making this comfortable and good place to war. Increase -- -- -- easing some of the stresses of the manpower. Increases them and help on the way. And so every day it's getting. So we talked about quite a few things and they gave me a positive response. We mentioned we have done on teen programs. On police issues since we started this a year ago. And something that keeps raising it's head is that for decades if not forever. We have global. The pace of police in the city. And in great part because police were able to do the detail more now we've got the consent to Corey we've got this new office a second during employment. And we got problems. Because it's not working according to many of the officers talked. But the real issue is why don't we as a community. Say we respect cops we want them to be paid a marked. So that they don't have to work sixty hour weeks. So that there -- a lot would be expected of them but that we pay enough. And where will that ever happened. I believe it well. And that is exactly my message and taking to a group Oval Office tonight on this and another roll call tonight. And that was my method Saturday in the fifth district and here's what I told them. While I'm an advocate for you almost one advocate for the community. We may never be able to get government. To give us what we want when we are the only ones scream four but when the community. Embraces us. Because we've shown them that we are connected it needs that we understand the dynamics of the community in that where actually. Resulting in fixing problems in the community in the community will speak on behalf. And the community will ask for us to get that -- in the community will see to it that we get so my job now it's to ensure that -- officers actually come to work. Understanding that their top priority is to serve the community. And that they get from self gratification. Out of surging. And that the -- second coming out party. If the commerce serve -- city in the citizens on the walls and I think when we do that and then we get the citizens to understand that that's our priority in the -- he is doing that they're gonna make this happen. And force. Everyone stay with -- we're gonna continue our talk with chief Michael Harrison right after this. And we're back with interim chief Michael Harrison. So appreciative of you being here tapping on. The enormous job you happen to shed some some really important things about. Public service. And I had a very interesting experience I was out of town out of state last weekend. In Maine and I hit method shown man when he was in high school and missed this year he's going to come and so what you gonna -- he said the law enforcement. That's terrific. What got you -- all I got to do an internship with the Maine state police to get to work in this little community tiny looming community. And I think you know he still enthusiastic. -- you know you really can help people in that he looked at me dead center. Instead. It's all about public service. But the only word you said it's you know something if you understand that at this point you've got it. And I'm bringing that up because he means it. I'm sure the majority of our and a -- means it but somewhere along the line there's been a little bit of the disconnect with in the community. That people not all people believe me I think the cops are great. But they don't think anymore that it's public service how do you get that back into the minds of those who work for me -- -- Well first wanna start with increasing. -- Institute begin implementing. Some unique initiative that will get them at least trust those in believing that we -- advocate for them -- they go along. And so I'll be listening to their concerns fall and one more round every station to report the department and listen. Here that consumers. Tell them what I can and when I can't do. Com and and assure them that if I tell them we're gonna do something that we're gonna do and then when they see that we live up to what we promise. I believe that goes a long way in at least knowing that we mean weeks. And then we wanna get to work through them that the community and -- them and that we want to introduce. Them to the community and they're neat. We not only just need the commanders want to community meetings but we -- Eagles officers and hearing the voices of of the community -- And I think when the officers here with the communities have to think about how they feel about the officers within internal. And they'll be they'll be better at what in the be better at serving the needs of those community members. Also by giving the officers getting the committee members excuse me to hear what the officers -- -- the community members can be more sympathetic to what we go. The day in the life of -- police -- her. And then when they'd. Understand what we go through and then we get together and we can talk about -- things I think neighborhood by neighborhood. We can bridge that gap bring a police -- commune members. But start with them giving us information but they got a big usually don't give it to us if they don't trust the so right now we're -- trust building for days. Chief -- told me something when he promoted me and put in the -- that -- exit through things -- to do. Yet the bill relationships that you didn't that would never built in it to repair the ones that broke so that's where we are right. It is about relationships. Too and I think that there is a sensitivity by the public that you are very short staffed. And we're hearing and all the time that you down five and cops difficulty and trying to replenish as the concerns. And and I think that. For the most part there is great respect for the job that has to be done the frustration comes in when they make a call and it takes two hours. Or there I think at any number of people on the show with given me just minor examples and I remember when they believe I -- -- it. A woman who was almost attacked by gutter punks ran up to an officer. And said my god we just been attacked a group of seventeen year old and he said -- does nothing I can do that is I think the answer. The answer is what can we do. Me tell you I've heard. From people that community meetings all week. What they want more than anything -- to know the officers that are working in there home so that's what they're asking for. Always gonna fight crime and absolutely probably would good it. I sat next -- all the commanders every week and I listen to what they say and how they deploy their resources and they're good. I think what we need to deliver a better that's how we get the community to understand that we -- doing that and that we doing it well I'd. Maybe they just don't know so we have to improve the message that we give out so it's not always what you do well as how many people know you do it well. To your own home. In a sense in this -- but I know again it's that very. Mix that were facing -- shortage -- you have the lack of resources even though and here you can get some resources which is good. And then the frustration of the public so and then you have this these -- shootings is constant shootings. But just put the icing on the cake of what is happening let's talk a little bit -- we're gonna go to a break in the second I do wanna hear from you -- on your thoughts. About what causes this craziness with the shootings. And what can be done to. To quell them. And to stop it to we're gonna take a break we're going to be going -- newsroom in a minute. But we still have a lot to talk to about. Are you still happy in your job -- I'm still happy and that's the bottom line you're enthusiastic and you care and and it it's a new beginning and I think that's the whole point let's go to the newsroom will be right back. Interim chief not Michael Harrison are very very special guest were talking about all that needs to be done. On his watch. This is man that sounds more than committed just. One weekend and you're already sounds try -- have hit the ground running. Let's talk a little bit about. And you were saying this culture of violence that has got to stop how do we stop these shootings. Well why do we have to. Give -- to this cultural violence we have to teach these young men conflict resolution skills which they do not. There idea resolving conflicts take out violence against. All the people. And so they have these these these arguments and rather than talking which which denied doing their -- Shooting one another and the catch one another. At all the different spots and in the city -- some more creating reputation some of them are defending their reputations and some of them. Are retaliating from previous bad acts and we get a lot of that. -- but we have some things in place -- for life as a great holistic approach -- murder reduction which is working because they're quite a few components. I have a good relationship as an African great relationship district attorney I have great relationships with. All of the judges who -- one -- more prosecuting attorneys when I was out there making cases. Only the defense attorneys. And I have a great relationship with -- so when all of the components of the criminal justice system working together and that's that's going to be our goal. Along with some tough laws when we put people in jail we are asking that the state. And then we working closely together with probation and parole we have some great and -- coming out where we're working with them. We believe that all of this will help us with -- reductions. And violent crime reduction while we do here though that these stories -- bad guys that continue to get out. Sometimes they're. There are cracks in the system where -- suspect slipped through the cracks. We wanna do our best to -- -- so my job is to ensure that we produce quality work product. In that we turn over the best possible product to our district attorney or -- attorney. So that we can ensure convictions so that we can assure that the reasons they get out. Maybe some type of technicality and that we minimize those things too little -- the exists. So that would be well. So -- properly educating and training now. -- detectives and officers we are expecting very. High level productivity from a supervisors and we're expecting great management and leadership from the management leadership team. So all of those things working together administratively with great. Deployment strategies by the district commanders utilizing the resources and animals optimum capacity. We believe we're gonna turn this thing around and -- we will be able to reduce murder while Iran. The changing the culture is is monumental. V we have done any number of programs on the various organizations run by black men helping young black man. And there's a growing number of them and their hat finding great success the silverback society likening the mall. And people as we've talked about how Mims captain black who were activists and community. Want the killing to stop to it. It's almost as if you could join hands with all of these organizations. That are really changing the course of these young men's lives. Taking him and their -- that pivotal moment. We're could go left or right. And and they're saying there's a better world does that. And we're gonna prepare you for that I'm just wondering if there isn't some way that the police department can't join with all of them. And say you know what were aware of some bad eggs out there can be tried it. Grabbed them. We are willing to work with anybody who is willing to work with two accomplished this girl. And that's actually important on the -- life I'll -- violence reduction strategy has their component built into it where people can go and and mediate between groups and tell them look please don't retaliate and not worth it. You know I was there with the present it's not worth until we have advocates that are speaking to people. I'm on that topic right there we believe that that works it's shown -- progress and we gonna all fall with it at a greater intensity. I know you have so much on your plate and will for a very long time. But we know that poverty is an issue that even our educational system is definitely getting better it's still an issue. And these are things perhaps out of your control. You can only do what you can do it but if you've got to plant and and that makes all the difference. It makes all the difference here is what we do. The assistant chiefs and the commanders -- 100%. I worked side by side with them for years and I have confidence that they can do that so we gonna hold them accountable but we know that they're going to deliver. Right now we wanna make sure all of well off -- on this team we wanna make sure that we communicate with them vision is and that they actually understand it. And have the capacity to care. So right now we're listening to their concerns. But we're actually make sure they understand our expectations. And that we were very involved with the community and we need the community so this is not just. Off against the community we wanna -- them in. Two while vision and we wanna work this -- -- -- -- Monica back to something we first talked about about the pay scale because. In the long run I think it really will make a difference. Not just a morale but in. In the -- being able to get the best people on earth. What do you think is a realistic salary for. Somebody starting out and then I mean in a perfect world. Dream. Angela to be honest with you can never -- police officer enough to do this to -- There is no amount of money you can really satisfied with because that you can open a price on human life. And we give an ally to serve. -- bought we are we offer competitive package actually we're pretty good in this region so when you look at the surrounding parishes. We're pretty competitive and somewhat. Well and and that is good to hear but yet I also hear that there. Once some some we have lost have gone because they're being paid and they're not working in some of the conditions you have to change that the conditions. The consent decree thing is an issue. The consent decree that office secondary employment I even dream about her just because we've talked so much about it is there any give on. I know they just made the exception for the superdome happy to read about that but do you think that there can be ever. A just a flexibility with that so that the the men and women who were depending on that can. Be part of the voice of the table I think that's. Well two issues one with increase and those conversations. It's. And -- that inevitably that will happen and we're hoping sold around them. In those conversations are on the table we feel pretty good. What we need to do was make sure that we are delivering this service that we're supposed to be -- so before someone asks what can you give me. I wanna know that we can actually deliver what we plan which have pulled the lead. And once I'm sure that. How -- is providing their quality service performing an extremely high levels managing and leading. The very problems that we expect them to mentally. Then we can really have more voice when we -- formal and we will get that. With regard to the details. Some of that is it's not within my control. That's consent decree issued to Department of Justice issue. There has been some relief in recent times whether it. The pavement increase. Pretty pretty dramatically for certain types of -- last minute and certainty though is perhaps. And so what we need to do now is better methods that to the officers because a lot of them just don't know. And we get them stopped fighting the system I think a lot of that is because they don't understand what truly going to we want to be clear about what's happening. And make sure they get factual information. Out and when they get -- -- I believe they'll have a different view of it and smuggle. Stay with -- everyone we're not done with the the chief wanna talk about this concept of not citizens civilians. Working with the police we'll be right back. We're back with the chief Michael Harrison. And -- as we have left we were talking about the concept of no look patrol where civilians are hired to do some of the non violent kind of work. That is needed because we're so short staffed in the corner. That's a proposal that's how home and the concept. Is designed. To relieve some of the stress of the district officers. And allow them to full somewhat seriously and obviously. We have to look at what they would do because they are absolutely not replacing police now though some might put that out there but it absolutely not replacing police officers. They just they would handle some minor mine quality a quality of life issues. That police officers could drive vine city room they could. Answer questions of tourists they could control before Traficant and -- a quarterback moving barricades and doing some things that we've in the past few other civilian employees to do noncommissioned police officers to do. I'm and so it would relieve some of the stress and allow them to focus on both series so. I think the concept the great concept and going forward it's that we can look to. To improve what the way we utilize our resources in the. And I would say that probably not just the eighth district and now let's go quickly get to Casey. Casey in mid city thank you for holding on. Well or worried or support torture and orchard Greg -- you're sure. Correction sort of group strongly cup patrol and local -- Or shot but it goes pretty. About stricker it's in the front court -- in April and -- well -- -- -- -- thirty minutes or the first Buick. It's not except overload the -- the other and so on the -- there'll. So we're not -- -- the -- to people with weapons and we're going to be training. It's been. And and in the basics of who would picture can all do will also appear in politics that. Coach not York. And we're not police do not gonna go out there and what forty. -- -- an extension. Like extra and wore. An opportunity. And we're at a meeting urged repeal them. -- commander of the district's street shouldn't. You know what -- forward with the sort of and -- were put that -- or retreat through all -- court. Go to you should torture change when these these this -- ball award. So let let me in Iraq -- -- we're going to be running out of time isn't this kind of what the Snow Patrol is. But you that would be under the police department. The concept is is very and it would be under the plea and actually controlled. So what your your purple thing -- -- -- On the table. Looking at -- we can implement it tweak it and it is doable possible. Additional patrol officer can do anything. We need swan leaves office to -- Insure them now for more point. Our main goal will be troops through our report bigger weapon will be -- It Whitaker reporting. Mark -- -- -- -- be in contention for. Struck the orbit where we need law to sort of told it's uncalled. But it stopped all it would certainly to. I appreciate your concern them. I'm quite positive commander -- is going appreciate that as well. I don't know understood it was so you could record there but it could -- -- and queries. That's great that your traditional public that related. OK Casey thanks a million for calling my computer network thank you very much. It goes back to again. We're all understanding the shortage of police you're encouraged that you're gonna get more involved. More. People more involved in joining the force but you're still gonna have Atlantic time near the class it's gonna finish what in November. There's that there will finish in November 27 officers we've scheduled to have a class stored on first -- second week of September. So we're we're pretty confident about that we have a large number of applicants in background eighty excellent don't feel confident that the momentum. It's building and building and we're pretty confident that we're turning around and -- as of yesterday we know we touched a lot of people we put the word out in the way that it's ever been put out before. And so all crossed the city people heard this thing work in -- PD towering it was probably more immediately than ever and that's a great things we look forward to see. Seeing the success of yesterday's. But before -- Like to go because if I want you back many times when you can in your life settles down and announces overwhelming but. -- have been in the sport 23 years what what is the biggest change you've seen in 23 years of enforcement. I think the culture of all is probably the biggest change this there's always been well. -- now it is it is just that an all time. But it's not just in the -- to -- the country and home technologies. Real big thing and at one time. We had technology but not technology pretty much fuel is just about everything that we do. And so an officer now really neat to be pretty. That practically stoop to be would have made it -- -- So going forward that's that's going to be part of our training almost see that everything we do we'll have some type of technology attached to. -- because right now it's how we solving crimes. And -- officers who wore mad at family I'm really have to. Put forth a lot more effort. To do the technology. And I'm hearing that music means we're ending our our -- The but the cameras that the that the officers where that's working. Great thing it is working officer wearing them and completely going down. And officers who are getting complaints are actually be being exonerated. Because it's showing that the officers did not do what they were accused of going. -- and it's also probably reducing some of those -- -- that we didn't want to happen so we think that's a great. -- Michael Harrison I cannot thank you enough for your time and this is an incredible week in your life as the next weeks and months are going to be. You have a permanent invitation please come back thank you thank you very very much we'll be right back. I want to thank again on interim chief Michael Harrison for spending a whole hour with us. What an incredible week in this man's life that it means a lot. I want everybody is still with this because we have our cold case detectives for the next hour stay with us.

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