For the last year, we have been talking about the shortage of NOPD officers. We are down to a little over 1,100 when conventional wisdom tells us we need at least 300 more.
That shortfall has manifested itself in a number of ways, most recently in the increasing number of stories we have heard about how long it takes to get a response to a 911 call. We tend to think that because it sometimes takes almost an hour for a unit to arrive, we must not have enough cops, and the solution is to hire more!
But we may want to look at the whole situtation a little differently. New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux released a report today showing that NOPD might not need 300 new officers; it should just use the officers it has in a different way.
So if we better used the cops we have, we could avoid hiring more but still get a better result?
"That's a fair statement. We went through a very elaborate and complicated process using a national expert," Mr Quatrevaux told me. "Dr. Weiss wrote the textbook on sizing police departments. There is really no methodology for that, but there is a method for figuring out how many officers you need to answer citizens' call for service, and that's what we did."
All I'm concerned about as a citizen is how many officers are on duty in my neighborhood, either at two o'clock in the afternoon or two o'clock at night.
"Well, we have the data! If you want 100 officers to work seven days a week, three shifts a day, you have to hire 162 officers because they take leave, get weekends off and all of that. If only half their time is devoted to calls for service, well, now you need twice as many. So this 50, 40, 30% in the report - thsoe were different levels as a percent of time the officers spent time devoted to answering calls for service. Actual practice can be quite different."
It's a fascinating problem to unpack, with many moving parts and very real consequences for our community. Take a listen to the podcast and tell us what you think!
How do we stop animal cruelty? Is it tougher laws? Tougher penalties? Bigger fines? More jail time? Public humiliation?
We've seen a lot of disturbing headlines lately. Horses malnourished or found dead from starvation, emaciated kittens found caged in a bin or thrown out on expressways, even pregnant rabbits thrown from cars.
We all cringe when we hear this horrific stories, but how do we stop people in their tracks? How do we make them know these are criminal acts?
It's sick, it's against the law, and it needs to stop now. Our society should have no tolerance for these kinds of acts against animals who can't protect themselves.
Fortunately, there are people in our community who work in the trenches 365 days a year to help animals. To help me understand this important topic, I invited in some of the best. Louisiana Humane Society Jeff Dorson, Spaymart President Lynn Chiche, Dr. Theresa Gernon of the Magazine Street Animal Clinic, Dr. Greg Rich of the West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic, June Booth from the House Rabbit Society all joined me today to help educate us about animal cruelty laws and policies.
We were also fortunate to be joined by Meagan McCarthy, whose cat Cinderella was left tortured and broken by her roommate. It is a heartbreaking story, but Cinderella is on the mend with the help of these very capable experts.
Take a listen to the podcast, and tell me what you think we can do as a society to prevent these types of stories from greeting us in the news. Thanks for listening!
Everyone is talking about Michael Sam. At the office, at the dinner table and everywhere on social media. The All-American 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year is openly gay, and then came "the kiss" on ESPN. What effect will it have on his career?
I had a pile of questions about this story so I asked our WWL sports team to join me in studio to hash out the fine details of what it means to be drafted so late, what it means to have an openly gay person in the locker room, and his prospects as an NFL draftee.
Bobby Hebert, Deke Bellavia, Kristian Garic and T-Bob Hebert were kind enough to spend a whole hour with me, lending their invaluable insight (both as reporters and actual former NFL players) to help me answer some of these questions.
So why was he drafted so late? T-Bob pointed out right away that "you'd be hard pressed to say that his sexuality and the media storm that comes with had absolutely nothing to do with it, but if you look at the numbers, its not hard to see why he fell all the way to the 7th round. He only had one really successful year in college, and with that, he needed to have a really successful Combine. He had the 6th worst performance out of over 200 players there."
Is he really good enough to be in the NFL? Bobby Hebert said "He'd be the first SEC Co-MVP on defense to not make the NFL. This is what's gonna happen, watch. If they end up cutting him, they'll put him on the practice squad. The Rams' D-Line is not a good place for him. If he kicks butt on special teams, they'll have a spot for him."
The whole hour was informative, engaging and great radio. Take a listen.
In America in 2014, one child in 68 will be born with a form of autism. That's a startling number, and the need to know more about autism and what can be done to prevent and treat it has never been more important.
Just to begin, autism is a neurological disorder and people who are diagnosed with it are characterized by a difficulty communicating and forming relationship.
Autism is not just one singluar symptom; it includes a spectrum of behaviors that can vary by individual. As the medical and scientific communities look for answers, I had a chance Monday to talk to some parents who are living out the experience with their own children.
Listen to the podcast below and see how parents learn their child is autistic, what their story is, how it has impacted their lives, and how it has improved over the years.
We have talked a lot on “An Open Mind” about the growing concerns of childhood obesity. Medical doctors and dieticians have schooled us about what needs to be done to save the next generation…save them from fat related diseases like diabetes, heart attacks and strokes and even some cancers.
Remember, this generation may be the first to not live as long as its parents. And this doesn’t begin to address the social pain overweight kids go through.
In our continuing effort to help parents, teachers and loved ones find answers about an issue that affects millions of children and will ultimately cost all Americans in increased health care costs… we invited LSU psychiatrist Kristopher Kaliebe to join us. He has a very interesting theory about what parents can do to reverse obesity in their children and at the same time reverse other destructive behaviors that he believes are extremely interconnected with getting fat.
Dr. Kalibe has three rules…rules that may sound simple, but may be tough to implement in a society moving in what some feel is a destructive direction.
Parents, give this show a listen. I’m sure it’ll give you some helpful insights.