Watchdog: Accountability

New Orleans Police Department needs more staff to answer calls for help

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Calls for help to the New Orleans Police Department may be going unanswered.

Most NOPD platoons do not have the right amount of officers assigned to them to meed the demand of citizen-generated calls, according to WDSU-TV, an NBC-affiliated television station in New Orleans.

Only 251 of the 1,000 officers below the rank of sergeant are responsible for handling calls for service, the New Orleans inspector general reported.

Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux believes NOPD can "better deploy its officers to place them in position to respond to citizen-generated calls," according to WDSU.

"The first duty of any police department is to respond to calls for service," Quatrevaux said.

Dr. Michael Cowan, chair of the New Orleans Crime Coalition, told WDSU the report should be taken seriously.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas have vowed to add to the NOPD's numbers, setting a goal of training and deploying five classes of new recruits, according to WDSU.

The audit also found platoon supervisors were holding calls during shift changes, resulting in a backlog of calls for the next shift.

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