On Sunday, February 5, 1995, the Community Oriented Policing Squad (COPS) was implemented in the Desire, Florida, and B.W. Cooper Housing Developments. These three developments were chosen due to the record number of murders in 1994 that occurred in the three developments. The officers of COPS began intensive patrols in an effort to eradicate the criminal element, thereby lessening the chance of violent crimes occurring in the developments. High profile drug areas in the developments were identified and enforcement action was implemented.
COPS has been successful in decreasing the murder rate from 48 murders in the three developments in 1994 to 13 murders in 1995, an overall decrease of 73%. The following is a break down of the three developments patrolled by Community Policing and their corresponding murder statistics, comparing 1994 to 1995:
|No. of murders in 1994||No. of murders in 1995||Decrease in murder rate|
There were 365 murders in New Orleans in 1995. The overall 13% decrease in murder for the city can be mostly attributed to the dramatic reduction in murder in the three public housing developments patrolled by the Community Oriented Policing Squad.
The COPS formed a working relationship with the residents of the three developments. The residents have accepted the COPS into their community. They have supported COPS efforts in order for COPS to take the community from the criminal element and return it to the honest law abiding citizens who live in public housing. In regaining the community and returning it to the residents, COPS has gained the trust and respect of the residents.
COPS has developed some innovative programs in order to eradicate the criminal element and bring a better quality of life to the residents of the housing developments.
When COPS was initiated, children in the developments were given ice cream by drug dealers to act as look outs for the police and to serve in other capacities. When COPS eradicated the street level dealers, the children of the development no longer received ice cream. In an effort to gain the children's trust and respect, COPS and New Orleans Cold Storage, in a joint effort, started an ice cream giveaway to the children. Several hundred bars of ice cream were distributed weekly from May to September.
In a cooperative effort with the New Orleans Fire Department and the Sewerage and Water Board, "Operation Chill Out" was initiated in the summer months. Previously, to cool off, children in the developments would open fire hydrants. Subsequently, low water pressure resulted and caused a hazardous situation if a fire occurred. A special device was placed on the fire hydrants by the fire department to more efficiently spray the water. The COPS provided security in order for the children to enjoy a couple of hours of cooling off in the hot summer.
An intelligence program was initiated to identify violent offenders who live and frequent the developments. The program has been successful in assisting the Homicide Division in solving seven (7) murders that have occurred in the city in 1995.
A member of COPS is a board member of the resident councils for the Desire/Florida Development. This position allows the police to learn the problems the residents are experiencing and work with them to find a solution to their problems.
COPS has participated in several community functions. These include the St. Phillip School Mardi Gras and Christmas programs, barbecues, voter registration drives, Night Out Against Crime, and a Christmas decorating contest in the B.W. Cooper Development.
The officers of COPS, in a cooperative effort with Diversified Insurance Company, gave away 150 Easter baskets in the Desire and Florida Developments. The officers gave away 100 Easter baskets in the B.W. Cooper Development. COPS distributed candy to hundreds of children during Halloween. The candy was provided by the private sector as well as the officers themselves. During this past Christmas, COPS distributed over 500 toys in the three developments to underprivileged children.
At a time when public perception of the NOPD is at an all time low with the Federal indictments of officers who worked in the Desire/Florida Developments, along with the Antoinette Frank incident, COPS has changed public perception in a positive way. The success of COPS has been documented in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, Greenville Times, Baton Rouge Advocate, Time Magazine, the Times-Picayune, Louisiana Weekly, and the Atlanta Constitution. COPS has also been the focus of several positive television features on all three national television networks, thus giving the NOPD positive publicity.
The following is a statistical productivity report for the COPS for 1995 as well as a monthly average of COPS productivity:
|Yearly Total||Monthly Average|
|Juvenile Major Arrests||161||15|
|Juvenile Minor Arrests||332||30|
|Moving Citations Issued||3301||300|
|Parking Citations Issued||45||4|
|Old Complaints Handled||1626||147|
|New Complaints Handled||28311||2573|
|Stolen Vehicles Recovered||234||21|
|Abandoned Vehicles Reported||266||24|