Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I am less than comfortable with this.

Nothing says, "I don't trust the NOPD" quite like military patrols.

Hizzoner, the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin has requested Louisiana National Guard troops to patrol the Crescent City. His partner, The Right Honourable Governor Kathleen Blanco, was only too eager to supply soldiers.

Can Nagin do anything without begging for State or Federal help? Honestly, why does New Orleans even have a mayor?

Several things about this little blip in the soap opera that is post-Katrina New Orleans concern me -- not the least of which is the fact that the last place the LA Nat'l Guard patrolled was downtown Baghdad -- but I am particularly disturbed by the precedent this sets.

Traditionally, the Governor of a State activates the National Guard for disasters. Multiple city, multiple county, multiple jurisdiction incidents. Tornados starting in the South-west corner of the Panhandle and finishing in the North-east corner. Hurricanes that smash an entire coast. Blizzards covering a couple of States. Biblical-type stuff.

To activate a National Guard unit for one city of maybe 200,000 ... what the hell? Doesn't New Orleans sit in one or more counties? Or is it parishes? New Orleans doesn't have a parish Sheriff's Office they could have gotten help from? Mutual aid agreements with surrounding communities?

No, they had to call out troops.

The death of anyone is not a thing to be taken lightly, but are the deaths of several people who were most probably involved in the local distribution of recreational pharmaceuticals really worth the deployment of 300 soldiers?

Washington DC, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities see multiple homicides -- since we're doing it in New Orleans, should we go ahead and start deploying troops in these other cities?

Now, I freely admit that I'm not in New Orleans. It is entirely possible that, from my limited and admittedly biased viewpoint, I am missing something.

However, it is my firmly-held belief that Citizens of the United Staets, on United States soil, should never be policed by military troops unless and until things have gone completely and totally rodeo.

Five subjects getting canked over a dispute concerning Narcotics, Trade of ... does not seem to me to pass the smell test for things going completely and totally rodeo -- especially with the stated 1,375 civilian peace officers for a city that apparently numbers somewhere around 200,000.

As a comparison, Amarillo, Texas has a population of between 180,000 and 230,000 (depending on whose numbers you're looking at) and a police force of a little over 300.

Arlington, TX pop: 360,000. PD of 730.
Garland, TX pop: 217,000. PD: 390
Lubbock, TX pop: 200,000. PD: 400.

New Orleans, LA. Population, about 200,000. PD: 1,375.
Plus 300 National Guard troops. And 60 Louisiana State Police.

Granted, none of the above cities in Texas have gone through a hurricane (Beaumont, pop: 114,000. PD: 303 Hurricane: Rita) -- but Lord have mercy, 3X - 4X the number of officers for a similarly-sized Texas city and they still can't get a grip on things?

What the hell, over?

LawDog

20 comments:

Nate said...

Concur. Completely. Nagin's got one gang related shoot-em-up in his town and withiin 24 hours he's helpless and calling in the qualified folks because he knows his gang of uniformed thugs aren't.

Unbelievable that he was re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Demographics.
Corrupt/incompetent PD
Vocally 'anti-gun' Chief of Police
A 'welfare mentality' mayor stuck in the 'entitlement / blame / demand aid' loop.

Welcome to Chocolate City.

Citizen H said...

What do you want to bet that Nagin's going to try and get the Guard to begin gun confiscations again, court rulings be damned?

Once again Nagin's incompetence is on parade.

Cybrludite said...

New Orleans and Orleans parish have the same borders, and their governments were merged waaaaay back when. Orleans has two sheriff's departments. The Criminal Sheriff (waits for the snickering to die down) runs the prison. The Civil Sheriff serves papers for the civil court system. Jefferson Parish's Sheriff's Office has plenty enough on their plates as it is, seeing as how we're recovering from the same storm and all. (I might point out two SWAT stand-offs here in Jefferson in as many days last week... both involving the shooting of one or more officer) Plaquemenes Parish effectively ceased to exist during the storm and hasn't rebuilt to the point where they have anything to loan anyone. The assorted levee district police forces have been hemmoraging officers (Mostly to the JPSO or to the Northshore) on account that it looks like they will be disbanded in the levee district re-org.

The MPs from the National Guard are being used to patrol the three districts which are mostly uninhabited but still have to be patrolled to roust out squatters and to keep the crackheads from ripping out copper wiring & pipes from the houses to sell as salvage for their next hit. The 60 State Troopers that were brought in will be patrolling downtown & the Quarter, high visibility areas that have less of a problem with crime. This frees up the NOPD to concentrate on going after the thugs & pushers who've been coming back after being run out of Houston or wherever. This has been in the works for weeks, actually, but wasn't announced until yesterday. They're trying to get on top of the situation before it gets to be totally pear-shaped. As opposed to, you know, waiting until the city looks like Falujah On The Gulf.

Jon said...

I'd think a curfew would be cheaper. Everybody off the streets dusk to dawn. Minimize the exposure and maximum return on police resources.

CDH said...

Uhhhh, yeah, it helps if the 1300+ officers aren't involved up to the top of their pointy heads! How many extra police are needed to police the police? If you need 300-400 for a 'normal' city that size, and half the force is corrupt, I can see if balloning REAL fast!

Pawpaw said...

In New Orleans, the city is the parish. Imagine a county that is totally occuppied by a city and you have some idea of the geography. Plus, in New Orleans, you have two sheriffs. A civil sheriff and a criminal sheriff. It's mind-boggling.

Like you, I believe that the Guard is the wrong answer. And I believe that Nagin is an idiot.

It's time to get all Toby Keith on the criminal element there. I blogged it at my place.

Mattexian said...

Can't forget that several of NO's "finest" didn't even exist, but were NO padding their wallets with Clinton's Million More Cops bill, and during the hurricane, several real ones were caught heading for higher ground (desertion, anyone?).

Calico Jack said...

What they really need is massive reform in the NPD, but that's not going to happen. Ever. So, this is about as good as things will get in New Orleans.

homebru said...

The question in my mind is: allowing that they do write 1375 checks every payday, how many actual, warm-body, professionally-trained police-persons are there in the NOPD?

Papa Ray said...

Is there some way we can convince LA to secede from the U.S. of A.?

Or give them to Cuba?

Hey, lets sell them to Mexico!

Papa Ray

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the Gulf isn't allowed to reclaim Detroit South. You just can't church up a meth whore.

Hell, I figure everything south of Red Stick would make a nice designated wilderness area.

Rhett said...

Wow! Wichita PD has a pop of 6,000 for 450,000 persons.

Cybrludite said...

PapaRay and Anonymous,

As I've said repeatedly here, if you let New Orleans sink, then the US economy is toast. 1/3rd of the US's oil comes in and is refined here and damn near all of the Midwest's bulk grain exports pass through here because of the River. Take a look at the profit margin that those farmers and agribizs work with and figure the effects of their shipping costs jumping by at least an order of magnitude to sent if by rail to Houston or Mobile. (That's assuming we had the rail infrastructure to do so...)

Jon said...

"...As I've said repeatedly here, if you let New Orleans sink, then the US economy is toast. 1/3rd of the US's oil comes in and is refined here and damn near all of the Midwest's bulk grain exports pass through here because of the River...."

The commerce part of New Orleans is not what people are concerned with. Industrial and commercial facilities are the only reason New Orleans is there and the only reason anyone even considers helping.

The problem is the insane politics and inept administrators. These people are the reason Hurricane Katrina successfully flooded the city. The levee system was underdesigned, much of the money allocated for the levee system was reappropriated and too many people kept their head in the sand/mud hoping the "big one" would never happen. When it did, as opposed to digging in and adapting, the same group was allowed to continue with their agenda.

To add insult to injury, massive amounts of money are still being thrown to bad policy and finances. Misusing state and federal forces to handle what a curfew could is bad policy and a waste of public money. The non New Orleans public (yes they do exist), is watching with a microscope. They are not happy and they are becoming more vocal, which will affect legislation and funding.

When is New Orleans going to wake up? I have the feeling that the movers and shakers are tremendously overworked and don't have the time to dabble in politics at this time. Woe be the politicians when the pendulum starts swinging the other way.

Anonymous said...

More Ovaltine please!

Cybrludite said...

Jon,

And who will work the docks and the refineries if there's no city to house them? Can't have one without the other.

The levee underdesignage and failure is the fault of the Corps of Engineers, as the Corps now admits. The "upkeep" that the local levee boards were in charge of pretty much consisted of keeping them mowed and calling the Corps if they found parts of it starting to slump. Not getting people out, and bowing to political pressure to use the Dome as a shelter along with the phantom cops (not to mention the bad ones...), and general lack of back-up plans is the city's fault. Blocking first responders and NGOs from the city, utter cluelessness of how the National Guard works, and being too much of a deer-in-the-headlights to ask for Federal help was the Governor's fault. Less than helpful have been the state government folks from the north of the state who're convinced we're all sodomites, libertines, and/or papists who deserve whatever happens to us. A view (Minus the bit about papists) that's not entirely absent from the blogosphere, I might add...

Jon said...

You won't be able to get anyone to live anywhere near New Orleans if they know it's going underwater again, which it will because the levees, even if they are completely revamped, will only handle a category 3 hurricane. Protecting for a 5 will take more money, which I will personally oppose every chance I get. Expenditures of that magnitude are unwarranted.

New Orleans has had it's chance. Enabling the city to waddle along only delays the enevitable. The only thing that New Orleans needs is to make the tough decision to prevent any residential building in flood prone areas and allow these areas to be filled and developed for industrial and commercial use.

Anonymous said...

Seems more than a little silly to have all that grain and oil come through one location. Momma Nature has and Abdullah the Rag could once again point out the folly of it. A better job needs to be done of balancing it between Houston, New Orleans, and Mobile.

markm said...

Let the Mississippi divert westward into the Atchafayala basin (that's what it would have done long ago without a lot of work by the Army Corps of Engineers) and build a new port over there. On stilts, unless the ground is better...