Tulane University criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf last week announced a comprehensive web survey on job satisfaction within the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). The survey, which will be completed by June 17, will be available only to police officers. It follows a February letter — attributed to a group of anonymous officers but released by the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) — critical of NOPD's leadership and direction.
"Everybody's talking about the police, but nobody's talking to the police," said Scharf, who is conducting the survey independently, not on behalf of Tulane.
The February letter from PANO identified a number of alleged issues within the department, including an overreliance on obtaining arrest statistics, inadequate staffing and unfocused leadership under Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
"Now, several months later, we are in the wake of increasing street violence and faced with more 'plans,' more 'missions,' but fewer and fewer officers due to an appalling attrition rate and astonishingly low morale, not to mention a shrinking fleet," reads a June 4 PANO statement about the survey's release.
In a Times-Picayune story last week, NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden was quoted as saying that PANO did not contact the department before the survey was released and adding that NOPD plans to conduct its own.
In late February, the city released a request for proposals seeking a contractor to design and perform a satisfaction survey to include NOPD employees along with citizens and detainees. As of last week, no contract had been awarded. — Charles Maldonado