To get their message across about the details, there's talk among local cops about hitting New Orleans in its soul. Rank-and-file police aren't happy about the new detail system that would be implemented as part of the NOPD's consent decree, so they are considering boycotting JazzFest, according to a letter issued by the president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. In the letter, Walter Powers comes down against the boycott, instead urging less drastic steps.
He calls the boycott a "nuclear option," and compares the situation to the recent aggression by North Korea.
"Unless you are Kim Jung Un the nuclear option is rarely the best option," Powers writes.
Police are looking to protest the new system of paid details called for by the City's consent decree to reform the Department. The reforms locate the off-duty police work in an independent office, known as the Office of Police Secondary Employment. The City is also looking to establish a definitive pay scale for detail work. The City Council will have to pass a pair of ordinances before the details can go into effect.
Even though the detail system was infamously called an "aorta of corruption" by the feds, many police officers are unhappy with the new system. The extra layer of oversight adds expenses to the system, Powers writes.
The ordinances are scheduled to be on the docket at a Council budget meeting on Tuesday, April 9. Powers encourages members to put their energy into showing up at the meeting.
"If you want to make a statement, show up at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in a show of force – on behalf of those who want to keep the public safe and receive a fair wage without adding extra expenses to those who hire detail officers," Powers writes.
Police have gone nuclear before. During an infamous episode in 1979, NOPD went on strike during Mardi Gras. Parades had to be cancelled, or moved to Jefferson Parish when Mayor Dutch Morial and the cops couldn't come to an agreement. Masked balls were still held and Krewe du Vieux was born, but tourism plummeted. In his letter, Powers seems to indicate the results won't likely be as disruptive.
"Let's take the best case scenario. If enough people participate and the Jazz Fest is adversely impacted, the message will be delivered loud and clear that the rank and file are dissatisfied with the proposed plan for paid details. Where would that leave us?" Powers writes. "The Consent Decree would still be in place with provisions on how paid details will be administered — you don't think (U.S. District) Judge (Susie) Morgan really cares whether or not you work details, do you?"
In addition to the City Council meeting, the Fraternal Order of Police plans to meet on Thursday, April 11, in the Our Lady of the Rosary cafeteria near Bayou St. John.