New Orleans Reassigns Officers, Resulting In Court Closure
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Activity at New Orleans' Municipal Court came to a halt Monday after three sections were closed when New Orleans Police reassigned several officers who provide security in the courtrooms.
The New Orleans Advocate’s Danny Monteverde reports Judge Desiree Charbonnet said the decision to pull the officers was one that was made with too little time to devise a contingency plan, forcing the suspension of activity in three of the court's four sections.
The city, in a statement, said 22 officers were being reassigned from places such as the court, District Attorney's Office and the police department's record room and put back on the streets. The transfers took effect Sunday.
"This is a public safety issue," Charbonnet said. "There's a real need for these guys in the courtroom."
Of the officers reassigned, 15 were on administrative duty within the department, three provided security support at the Municipal Court, three were assigned to the district attorney's office and one was assigned to the Department of Sanitation.
"This plan has been in the works for weeks," City Hall spokeswoman Garnesha Crawford said in a statement. "Judge Charbonnet gave her word that she would help make this work because everyone agrees we should have as many officers on the street as possible."
Crawford tells WWL-TV that the 22 spots would be filled by other law enforcement agencies or civilians. She said sheriff's office deputies are already in place at Municipal Court and the city continues to be ready to pay for detailed law enforcement officers from the Constable's office to perform additional security work at the court for the remainder of the year.
After a 26-person recruit class graduated last week, a Police Department spokesman said the number of officers in the department was at 1,136, including another 29 recruits still in the academy.
Two local police unions have argued that figure, saying the number is actually 1,074.