By Morgan Lentes | WDSU | May 10, 2021
NEW ORLEANS — On Monday, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by NOPD Superintendent Sean Ferguson and Saints player Cam Jordan to announce the expansion of a new training program for police officers.
The program began with 10 NOPD officers, who received specialized anti-racism and community engagement training by the nonprofit Crescent City Corps in 2019.
Thanks to support from Jordan, CCC will now be able to train more than 60 officers over the next two years.
The goal is to change the face of policing in New Orleans by exploring topics like leadership, racial equity and trauma-informed policing.
At a news conference, Ferguson said Jordan reached out to him last summer when social justice protests were happening across the country.
“I remember Cam, in the midst of everything that was going on in our country, asking, ‘What can I do?'” Ferguson said.
Jordan said he hopes this training will build on the efforts that started last summer.
“This is not a solution,” Jordan said. “This is a continuation of work that has been done from the social justice leaders, who have been on the ground, to the leaders that are in the system as we speak now.”
Anthony Jackson Jr., a community activist and New Orleans East resident, told WDSU that he supports the new program and its mission. But he said, most of his neighbors want one thing from the police.
“People simply want more police presence,” Jackson said. “They want to have those tough conversations, but they want to have a better quality of life.”
It is a desire that Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, understands well. The group tracks local crime statistics, while also monitoring things like staffing levels at NOPD.
“When they dial 911, they want someone to be there, and they want them to be there quickly,” Goyeneche said.
Goyeneche said currently, NOPD has about 1,150 men and women in its ranks. He said that is down from a high of 1,700 in the early 2000s.
“This training is important, but also, and what really isn’t being spoken about, is the acute need to hire more police officers right now,” Goyeneche said.
Ferguson assured the community that the new training will benefit the community in real-time, not hurt it by pulling resources from one area to another.
“We can juggle that,” Ferguson said. “This is not going to have an impact on what we’re doing with regards to safety. Because of this program, this is going to deepen that relationship with our community.”