Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

The Obameter

Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area

"Will finish rebuilding the region's criminal justice system so that we do not have to rely on the National Guard to patrol city streets..Will establish a special "COPS for Katrina" program to allow communities impacted by the storm to hire and retain new officers and community prosecutors, develop community-based crime fighting strategies, and rebuild their lost infrastructure... Will strengthen Drug Enforcement Administration efforts to stop the reestablishment of drug gangs across the region...Will help local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies come together to establish an integrated regional crime control partnership so that each police chief and sheriff doesn't have to face these crime problems alone."


More cops, thanks to COPS

We've identified more than a dozen promises that Barack Obama made that were targeted to New Orleans and other areas along the Gulf Coast that were hit by Hurricane Katrina. This promise addresses the need for more police protection.

The New Orleans Police Department is back to full strength, and the National Guard ended its three-and-a-half year deployment in early March. But the Guard's departure might be as much a response to a state budget shortfall as to the local police presence.

Obama's promise included a pledge to hire police that had been dubbed "COPS for Katrina." Although there is no special program by that name, the Obama-backed economic stimulus plan included nearly $160 million in federal Community Oriented Policing Services money for 173 law enforcement agencies in the Gulf Coast states. The White House says that led to 867 police officers being hired throughout the region. It also included $22.8 million in Violence Against Women formula grant awards and $18.1 million in assistance for victims of crime in the region. 

As for an integrated regional crime control partnership, that part is done. White House officials said the New Orleans Violent Crime Task Force began operations in April 2009. The Task Force, headed by the FBI, is composed of representatives from the New Orleans Police Department; the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office; the Kenner Police Department; the Louisiana State Police; the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to White House officials, the task force leverages federal and local law enforcement resources and focuses on the shootings, aggravated assaults, and murder occurring most frequently in the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th Police Districts of New Orleans.

 So let's review. The New Orleans department is at full strength and the National Guard has left (although it seems as much a reflection of budget cuts as a surge in local police). Obama's "COPS for Katrina" promise has hired 867 officers. And he has created the regional crime control partnership.

We think that qualifies as a Promise Kept.


White House, Fact Sheet: Background on Gulf Coast Recovery and Nationwide Disaster Preparedness and Response Efforts

Times-Picayune, "Editorial: Task Force Gator's farewell," March 4, 2009