An ongoing investigation into mishandling of hundreds of cases could lead to legal trouble for the Louisiana detectives assigned to those cases, as well as supervisory staff. The investigation of the New Orleans Police Department was conducted by the New Orleans inspector general, and an internal probe has also been initiated. The primary focus of the investigation centers on 1,290 911 calls that came in between 2011 to 2013, all of which were centered on sex crime matters. As of the time of this report, none of the individuals have been charged with a crime, but the chair of the City Council’s Criminal Justice Committee has made public statements concerning the criminal nature of the actions taken by some detectives and supervisors.
According to the investigation, the calls that came in to 911 were assigned to one of five NOPD detectives. Of the 1,290 calls that came in, investigators concluded that 271 of the cases should have resulted in follow-up contact by the investigators, but that there is no documentation to suggest that such contact actually took place. The director of the police department’s task force assigned to look into these calls determined that there are additional cases that require a second look. In total, 360 sex crimes cases will be reopened and investigated.
The detectives who were assigned to these calls are accused of improperly documenting some cases and of failing to maintain adequate files. There is also an allegation that some of those files were backdated after the inspector general requested that they be handed over as part of the investigation. As a result, the detectives and supervisory staff could be charged with malfeasance, in addition to other charges.
The internal probe also found that 179 of the sex crimes cases had been investigated and properly documented, and that no additional follow-up is necessary. As many of these Louisiana cases are given a second look, there will likely be many others that will be found to have been properly addressed. That said, the investigation could end with those in the NOPD who were tasked with handling these cases charged with a crime.
Source: nola.com, “NOPD sex crimes unit’s sins not as many, but policies broken, department says”, Ken Daley, June 3, 2015