New Orleans puts up $4M for police overtime

Published 12:07 am Monday, October 8, 2007

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The city will provide $4 million for overtime pay to put uniformed New Orleans police officers on duty 12 hours a day across most of the city.

The move to 60-hour workweeks, proposed by Police Superintendent Warren Riley, is designed to fight the city’s high incidence of crime, especially murders that have outraged many residents and attracted national attention.

The mandatory overtime shifts are scheduled to run until the end of the year.

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The City Council approved the extra money on Thursday.

The mandatory overtime plan affects all uniformed officers who patrol and answer calls in five of the police department’s eight districts.Police officials have said the longer shifts will put 33 percent more officers on duty at any given time in the affected districts, increasing their visibility and, officials hope, leading to more arrests of violent criminals.

Riley initially asked the council to approve $5.7 million for the program. The department says it will make do with the lesser amount.

Riley proposed the overtime plan after violent crime reached a crescendo in August, with 29 homicides in 31 days. The murder rate has ebbed significantly since then.

‘‘We want to make sure that August doesn’t reoccur,’’ Riley said.

Although it will mean extra pay, the overtime mandate was not met with enthusiasm by many officers. The two largest police associations have criticized it.

Mike Glasser, president of the Police Association of New Orleans, said many of his members don’t like the proposal but ‘‘are dedicated to making it work as best we can.’’

The Fraternal Order of Police lodge also opposed the longer workweeks.

‘‘It’s a matter of fatigue on the officers and their ability to perform efficiently and safely,’’ said Sgt. Donovan Livaccari, a spokesman for the group.

‘‘This has a huge impact on their lives, their routines.’’

Both police associations say fatigue is a major concern for officers, especially as the holiday season approaches. To lessen fatigue, the Fraternal Order said Riley agreed to let officers work four days and then get two days off.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco recently extended the stay of 60 state police troopers and 300 National Guard soldiers to help police through the end of her term on Jan. 14.


Information from: The Times-Picayune,