New Orleans PD could deputize city workers to issue some citations

The workers wouldn’t have arrest powers or the authority to carry a service weapon

By Suzie Ziegler 

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Police Department will soon be able to deputize non-sworn city workers to allow them to issue citations for some city code violations, reports 4WWL

According to the report, workers can be deputized upon request from the heads of the city’s sanitation, public works, homeland security and pest control departments. The deputized employees can’t make arrests, can’t carry a service weapon or police badge, and can’t issue court summons. 

Police will provide some training for the deputized workers, said NOPD Deputy Superintendent Otha Sandifer. However, Sandifer says the workers shouldn’t engage in situations where they feel unsafe. 

The move comes amid calls to rethink policing. 

“The NOPD heard the community call for them to think critically about ways to be able to reduce or eliminate interactions that may be considered unnecessary," said Stella Cziment, the city's acting independent police monitor, to WDSU. "The department can reduce its footprint in the community." 

The city council approved the plan in December, but it remains controversial, according to WDSU. Supporters say the plan would allow sworn officers to focus on enforcing more serious crimes, and let the deputized workers handle offenses like littering and illegal dumping. 

But opponents worry the deputized workers may be ineffective or could abuse their power. Local police union leader Mike Glasser spoke out against the plan. 

"Code enforcement by deputized civilians will not be the answer," Glasser told WDSU. "It will cause more problems with oversight and management than it could ever possibly solve." 

City council president Helena Moreno also voiced concerns, saying she’s hoping for more details. 

"What the training looks like and what that model looks like, that's more my concern, because I have not seen it developed yet,” Moreno said.

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