Judge: New Orleans Cops Can Work More Off-Duty Detail Hours

New Orleans Police Officer During Mardi Gras
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans officials, facing a shortage of city police officers, can increase the number of hours a week that city police officers are allowed to work private security details, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan granted a city motion to amend a longstanding “consent decree” — a court-backed agreement the city reached with the U.S. Justice Department to implement a broad array of reforms. The agreement, approved by the court in 2013, includes a 24-hour-per week limit on officers private duty work when they are not on city time.

Morgan’s ruling increases the maximum to 32 hours per week. It’s described in court documents as a pilot program that will be in effect for four months. The extension ends July 8, but the city will be able to make the case then for making it permanent.

City officials said in court documents that there has been an increase in requests for private duty details from businesses and residents. Allowing off-duty officers to be hired by private entities for an increasing number of hours will help deter crime.

“Additionally, increasing the hours will allow officers to combat financial hardships as a result of inflation and will boost morale within the police department,” the city said in its motion.

The 2013 pact spells out a series of strict requirements for overhauling the police department’s policies and procedures for use of force, training, interrogations, searches and arrests, recruitment and supervision. It included a restructuring of the system for approving and paying officers for off-duty security details.

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