By Kenny Lopez | WGNO | November 12, 2020
NEW ORLEANS– The New Orleans Police Department presented their 2021 proposed budget to the City Council today.
WGNO talked to the Metropolitan Crime Commission to help analyze what the proposed budget means. The Commission said with crime spiking, and budget costs reducing, this could cost public safety.
Rafael Goyeneche, President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission said this year homicides are up 87 percent, and shootings are up 37 percent. He said something needs to be done to change this alarming trend.
“I get that the City is in a rock and a hard place financially, but what’s more important than public safety,” he said
The New Orleans Police Department released their proposed budget for 2021. The general fund is 11 million dollars less than 2020, and the non-general fund is nearly 5 million dollars less than 2020. This concerns Goyeneche.
“In 2019, when crime was lower, the police department spent more money to address a lower crime rate,” he said.
The budget reduction plan includes cuts to overtime spending, 26 furlough days for classified employees, 10 percent pay reduction for unclassified employees, reducing recruitment, and not filling non-critical vacant positions.
“We’re experiencing a hurricane of crime right now. If there is a hurricane coming, we’re not going to furlough pump operators and decommission 10 percent of the pumps. It is critical to public safety,” he said.
Though overall the plan is to reduce the budget, the NOPD sees the need for more technology to comply with the Consent Decree. They’re asking the City for 94-thousand dollars more than in 2020 to increase body-worn and in-car cameras.
“I hope you look at this as an investment in continued progress of constitutional policing and reform, also transparency that our city and department deserve,” Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in the budget hearing.
“Technology is great, but it requires man power. Bottom line is you get what you pay for, that’s true in life, and that’s true in public safety, and that’s true with the police department,” Goyeneche said.