NOPD consent decree will test commitment to reform
Chris Miller Reporting
The city of New Orleans and U.S. Department of Justice now have a consent decree to make institutional changes in the New Orleans Police department. So what's next?
Because it's a federal consent decree, the mechanism to make sure the changes are put in place is built-in: a special monitor appointed by a federal judge will report back to the feds on how things are going.
"If those reforms aren't instituted, then that monitor can go the federal judge, and that judge can impose the power of law to force the city and the police department to move forward with some of those reforms," said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metro Crime Commission.
Goyeneche says the real challenge comes when the consent decree expires.
"They've already started before this decree was formalized," Goyeneche said of the changes at NOPD. "The real question is, what happens after the decree is completed and the federal officials have left?"
According to Goyeneche, the challenge is not changing back to the old ways once the federal oversight has ended: "The reforms can never be over in the police department, because if you're not moving forward, then you're starting to backslide a little bit."
Goyeneche says if the consent decree accomplishes its goal of truly changing the culture of the police department, then continuing the reforms should continue.