By Kaitlin Rust | WVUE | June 10, 2022
There have been at least 11 murders in just the past five days across New Orleans. We’re now up to at least 135 homicides this year as police start 12-hour shifts to try to fight back.
“It’s disheartening, first and foremost,” NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson said.
Reacting to that statistic, Ferguson says we need to take a hard look at personal conflict resolution.
“We are making decisions in haste, zero to 1,000,” Ferguson said. “I think there are some mental issues we are not addressing as a society.”
He said although disparities in educational opportunities and job opportunities do exist, we need to stop using that as an excuse.
“I grew up in a single parent home I never once thought about picking up a gun to shoot someone,” Ferguson said. “I had conflicts. I had a fight with a guy in the ninth grade. We went to the principal’s office, we were suspended and we walked home from the principal’s office together, had a three-day vacation but we walked home together and never once did we think about shooting each other.”
He also brought up the need for us to look outside of the home.
“There are too many weapons on the street, we have to think about our gun laws and how easily accessible they are,” Ferguson said.
Too many weapons, not enough officers and that includes homicide detectives according to Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
“If their workload is up 50% this year versus last year, the pace that we are on for a homicide and violent crime rate is being shouldered by fewer and fewer officers,” Goyeneche said. “The best practice is they get four or five cases a year that’s a bad month in New Orleans for a homicide detective. This isn’t sustainable.”
He thinks the path forward is through replicating the Landrieu-era multi-agency gang task force, which is what the VCAIT unit that was announced in January looks like.
“If you just pick off and arrest one or two people you’re going to continue to see the retaliatory street justice and more than one of the homicides that were committed this week were related to feuding drug organizations, so, if we can start to dismantle some of the organizations and groups that are responsible for some of these homicides, not only are we holding them accountable but preventing them from future homicides,” Goyeneche said.
That, paired with the continuation of last summer’s Operation Golden Eagle.
“I expect a similar result this year but you can’t keep that up and the state police are only here for three months,” Goyeneche said.
Goyeneche still thinks it will be tough to keep up. He says we’ve lost 80 officers this year and only have eight cadets in the academy.
“Whenever the next class starts with recruits it will be 10 months before they’re on the streets operating as police officers, so, the police department is going to have to be strategic in using their resources and partnering with as many agencies as they can to identify the most violent offenders and arrest prosecute and remove them from the streets,” Goyeneche said.
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