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Angela Hill

"An Open Mind" Host
Weekdays 1pm-4pm

Twitter: @ahillwwl
Email: angela@wwl.com


Angela: Can NOPD's Interim Chief makes us feel safer?

Michael Harrison became an NOPD officer 23 years ago, and today he is interim Chief.

Why did he want to become a cop?  What was it about the world of law enforcement that called him?  And now equally importantly… why does he want to be Chief?  I ask that not to be facetious - this is a tough job in very tough times.

A community is crying out for more; more officers in neighborhoods, more caring and committed officers and more money for cops who will stay.

Officers are crying out as they struggle to make enough money through the new office handling details… with pervasive morale issues and with their own frustrations from not enough police on the force.

In a city with so much going right, the number of people shooting others continues to haunt us. Children are killed and maimed, women are 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. Yet, he is a new set of eyes when it comes to leading us out of the complexity of this situation.  

How can he make us feel safer?  How can he make the men and women in blue feel better? And, what does he think can be done to stop the madness on the streets?

FULL AUDIO: Angela talks with NOPD's Interim Chief Michael Harrison

 
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Angela: Violent crime - what we don't handle eventually handles us

It was another weekend in the Crescent City filled with gun shots, meaningless death, children mangled with bullets and any number of broken hearts. 

We’ve been here before… many times before.  Same song, different verse. Drugs, guns, death. Anger, no value for life, no living life with value.

READ MORE: Police, mayor discuss New Orleans weekend killings

Is it so common now that after the initial “oh no,” we don’t give it another thought?

Unless the slaughter was on our street or in our neighborhood… unless the bullets are in our children… do we dismiss it as just another sad/bad action by people who will never cross our path?

7 people shot in one drive by; 2 toddlers seriously wounded… a weekend of violence totaling 16 shot and 5 dead. Are we so numbed by such an event that our next thought after we hear this is 'what are we having for dinner?' Are we really that desensitized?

Or, is it that we have no hope for change in behavior that is so against basic human decency, that we no longer hear cries for help?

What you don’t handle eventually handles you, so let’s talk about it.   

Join me for a 2 hour special today with my special guests: Captain Black with Brothers Against Crime; Darlene Cusanza with Crimestoppers; community activist Al Mims; and Reverend Ed Thompson with All Souls Church in the 9th Ward. I want to hear from you too…do you worry that crime could spread or is spreading to your neighborhood?  If you witnessed a violent crime, would you say something or suffer in fear?   Call us 504-260-1870, toll free at 866-889-0870 or text 870870.  

FULL AUDIO: Angela 2pm, New Orleans crime roundtable

FULL AUDIO: Angela 3pm, New Orleans crime roundtable

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Angela: Leonard Galmond beats the odds - a true New Orleans fairytale

Imagine that your mother was 13 when she had you. Imagine that your father was a drug dealer, and that he was murdered when you were only 4 years old.  

Imagine a childhood living in abject poverty with five other siblings, and then and losing the little you had during Hurricane Katrina. Then you end up at Cohen High School, one of the worst in the city. There are days when there's not enough food. Where do you think you’d be today if this was your story?

The story belongs to Leonard Galmond, and once you hear the whole of it, you’ll know why this community has embraced him. Leonard conquered those odds to obtain a scholarship to Yale University. In just a few weeks he will leave New Orleans to attend one of the most presitigous universities in the world on a full scholarship.

How did he do it? He had the love of his family, he was smart and he worked hard. He found his passion and gift in art, and made the choice never to get on the path of crime like so many around him.

If you are weary of hearing stories of young men who are wasting their lives on a path of crime, who don't value life and have no motivation to change... you are not alone. And you are going to love meeting Leonard. 

His story is one we all need to hear. Click the link below to listen to my interview with Leonard, and enjoy.
 
FULL AUDIO: Angela talks to Yale-bound student Leonard Galmond
 
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Angela: Beyond the horror of Bourbon St shooting; not enough cops

Beyond the horror of ten people being shot on one of the most famous streets in America last week, beyond the sadness of one young lady murdered at the beginning of her adult life, we now face the reality that New Orleans doesn’t have enough police officers.

Everyone agrees that having many more officers on Bourbon Street in the early morning hours of that Sunday may not have prevented the insane actions of two men… but it clearly brought to light once again that we have a crisis in police manpower.

Within days, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called a press conference announcing that he had asked State Police for one hundred permanent officers, and asked President Barack Obama for extra Federal help; in essence saying the Feds had abandoned the streets of America’s cities.  

The state police sent 50 officers, who will be here through Labor Day.  No word yet from the President, however. Michael Anderson, head of the local FBI office, wrote a scathing guest column in the newspaper defending the amount of work his office has done helping with major street crime arrests and convictions in New Orleans in the last several years.

This obviously is a conversation that is going to continue for a while…

Which is why today we talked to Captain Michael Glasser, the head of PANO (the Police Association of New Orleans) about the strong letter he wrote in response to Mayor Landrieu’s press conference and the call for more help from the state and federal government. Police Chief Ronal Serpas responds to Glasser in the second half of the show. 

Hopefully, the end result will be an honest conversation about how to un-crack the foundation of NOPD. 

FULL AUDIO: Angela talks to Capt. Glasser and Chief Serpas about police manpower crisis
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Angela: Bourbon St shooting strikes to the heart of who we are

We all know the facts. Two guys open fire on each other during an argument on Bourbon Street early Sunday morning - then at least one of them opens fire on innocent people walking by.

We have nine people shot, two seriously, and the two shooters still on the run.

Chief Serpas said there were many police were stationed in the area. He said some were “at arm’s length” to the shooters when it happened. Why didn’t they capture the shooters?  What’s the plan to fix this problem?

Is it more police?  Is it better police?  Is it better training?  Is it funding?  If so, how do we get more money to pay more cops, to recruit better cops?  Do our cops need to be better equipped to handle this wild west mentality?  Did the cops on duty that night have protective vests?  Should every cop in the FQ have cameras on their clothes?

Is it better strategy, or better strategic placement of cops? Should we block off side streets after 10pm… like Beale Street in Memphis?  Should we have one way in; one way out?  Should we ID everybody on Bourbon after 10pm?

Is it a leadership problem?   Do we need a clearer vision?  We keep bragging about all the young entrepreneurs coming to our city; we keep bragging about record tourism & real estate transactions.  The quickest way to to run that off; to impede progress; to halt confidence is violent crime, especially in the French Quarter.  

Who are we?  Are we a cop force that just accepts thugs shooting innocent bystanders, when they’re shooting at each other, and that’s okay?  Who are we and what is our future?  

Are we the tourism and marketing groups who say "bring your businesses here for conventions," "bring your families here for reunions," "have stay-cations in one of the most historic, fascinating towns in the world," but your child, your mother, your brother, you may get shot?  How is this NOT more dangerous than a category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane barreling through the Crescent City?  

After listening to authorties in many areas of criminal justice and every day conerned citizens, the conversation breaks down to two main themes.

First off: Is the leadership in the city handling the police shortage correctly? Is our city government doing what it can to beat the low morale that pervades the NOPD? And if it is not, what more should they be doing?

Secondly, and equally as important: Everyone is acknowledging that a primary cause of crime is young people not being raised correctly. We have this problem because parents are abandoning their respondibilities, and nobody is holding them accountable.

These two discussions are not meant to simplify a very complex problem in this city and others, but it is two good starting points on a conversation about what needs to be done in the short run and long run.

I have said this many times: Crime is complex and heartbreaking and a constant battle, but our guests on "An Open Mind" Monday refuse to give up. 

Take a listen to the podcasts below with grassroots community anti-crime activists Al Mims and Captain Black, Loyola criminologist Dr. George Capowich, and PANO attorney Eric Hessler.

FULL AUDIO: 6-30 1pm New Orleans crime roundtable Part One

FULL AUDIO: 6-30 2pm New Orleans crime roundtable Part Two
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Angela: Bourbon St shooting strikes to the heart of who we are

We all know the facts. Two guys open fire on each other during an argument on Bourbon Street early Sunday morning - then at least one of them opens fire on innocent people walking by.

We have ten people shot, two seriously, and the two shooters still on the run.

Chief Serpas said there were many police stationed in the area. He said some were “at arm’s length” to the shooters when it happened. Why didn’t they capture the shooters?  What’s the plan to fix this problem?

Is it more police?  Is it better police?  Is it better training?  Is it funding?  If so, how do we get more money to pay more cops, to recruit better cops?  Do our cops need to be better equipped to handle this wild west mentality?  Did the cops on duty that night have protective vests?  Should every cop in the FQ have cameras on their clothes?

Is it better strategy, or better strategic placement of cops? Should we block off side streets after 10pm… like Beale Street in Memphis?  Should we have one way in; one way out?  Should we ID everybody on Bourbon after 10pm?

Is it a leadership problem?   Do we need a clearer vision?  We keep bragging about all the young entrepreneurs coming to our city; we keep bragging about record tourism & real estate transactions.  The quickest way to run that off; to impede progress; to halt confidence is violent crime, especially in the French Quarter.  

We need to figure out who we are. We need to decide how much we will take. And we need to constantly remember that we invite the world into our neighborhoods.

After listening to authorities in many areas of criminal justice and every day concerned citizens, the conversation breaks down to two main themes.

First off: Is the leadership in the city handling the police shortage correctly? Is our city government doing what it can to beat the low morale that pervades the NOPD? And if it is not, what more should they be doing?

Secondly, and equally as important: Everyone is acknowledging that a primary cause of crime is young people not being raised correctly. We have this problem because parents are abandoning their responsibilities, and nobody is holding them accountable.

These two discussions are not meant to simplify a very complex problem in this city and others, but it is two good starting points on a conversation about what needs to be done in the short run and long run.

I have said this many times: Crime is complex and heartbreaking and a constant battle, but our guests on "An Open Mind" Monday refuse to give up. 

Take a listen to the podcasts below with grassroots community anti-crime activists Al Mims and Captain Black, Loyola criminologist Dr. George Capowich, and PANO attorney Eric Hessler.

FULL AUDIO: 6-30 1pm New Orleans crime roundtable Part One

FULL AUDIO: 6-30 2pm New Orleans crime roundtable Part Two
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Angela: Mayor Landrieu gives some straight talk about neighborhood needs

He hit the ground running as he began his second term as Mayor of New Orleans, and now Mitch Landrieu can look back on his first four years with a sense of real accomplishment.

The city has hit it's post-Katrina stride. Tourism is flourishing, retail is rocking, and the entreprenuerial spirit is alive. According to every study, people are feeling good about the city. 

But Mayor Landrieu faces some real challenges, such as how to pay for two consent decrees and the firemens' pensions. How do we get more people interested in joining the police department? How do we resolve the ever-growing demands of citizen groups who want the streets fixed now, the street lights fixed now - and not years from now?

I was lucky to have Mayor Landrieu in studio today to answer some of these important questions.

"I'm thrilled to have been given a second opportunity to serve the City for the next four years. The problems that we had the last four years are very different from the problems we'll have in the next four," he said. "People of this city should be really proud of how far we've come... I think everyone really pulled together and we tried everything we could to get the city back." 

The Mayor is fresh off a trip to the Louisiana legislature in a push to help strengthen the city's finances and pay for those two consent decrees. How did it go? 

"There's not enough money for everything and you have to start making decisions about what goes first, what goes second. I went to the Legislature and said 'forgive our debt the way you asked President Obama to forgive yours.' The Legislature said 'no, thank you.'"

My final question to him was one that everyone else is asking: Are you thinking about running for Governor?

"No. I love being the Mayor of the City of New Orleans. When you're a politician, you never say never. Who knows what it's going to look like a year and a half from now, but I love the city with all my heart and soul." 

Take a listen to the interview by clicking the link below.

FULL AUDIO: Angela talks to Mayor Landrieu about the city's agenda
 

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Angela: We need smarter management, not more cops

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.

READ MORE: Report: NOPD has enough cops, just uses them wrong

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!

FULL AUDIO: Angela talks to IG Ed Quatrevaux about how many officers NOPD needs

 
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Angela: Animal cruelty must be stopped, and stopped now

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!

FULL AUDIO: Angela talks to veteranarians and advocates about animal cruelty

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Angela: What's next for Michael Sam?

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.

FULL AUDIO: Angela talks to WWL sports team about Michael Sam   


 
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