And New Orleanians must demand that they do so

February 06 [Mon], 2012, 10:51
This will not necessarily be a quick or inexpensive fix. But the more cooperation there is within the department, the better.Oakland police officials have been slow to implement a 2003 consent decree, and federal oversight is being extended beyond the original time frame. Kristin Burgess, who works for the Oakland Police Department's inspector general office, said it was a challenge getting police there to embrace change.The leadership of our organization for the first two years of the agreement did virtually nothing," she said.

In Detroit, a decree initiated in 2003 has been beset by delays and scandals. The Detroit Police Department had a succession of police chiefs who didn't believe in the decree, but the current chief reportedly has embraced it and holds accountability meetings to ensure compliance.The initial recalcitrance demonstrated in Oakland and Detroit must not happen here.

In a letter accompanying its report last March, the Justice Department pointed out that Mayor Mitch Landrieu sought help with the "complete transformation'' of the Police Department. City and police leaders here have said they are fully behind the decree process.

Arguably, the most important person in that effort will be Superintendent Serpas, who must set the tone for his commanders and rank-and-file officers.
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