NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson today (May 12, 2022) announced plans to bolster deployment of law enforcement officers during the coming summer months, including assistance from Louisiana State Police through a return of “Operation Golden Eagle” and implementing a 12-hour shift for all field operations district-based officers for the summer.
The announcement comes on the heels of a successful partnership with Federal, state and local criminal justice system partners earlier this year to help enhance the NOPD’s Violent Crime Abatement and Intelligence Team, or VCAIT.
“This past February, through partnerships with the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Attorney’s Office; Louisiana State Police; and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, the NOPD formulated a strategy to enhance our VCAIT Unit,” Ferguson said. “This coordinated effort led to an increase in the number of arrests and prosecutions over the past several months. This is a trend that all parties involved seek to continue. We believe these decisions will continue to move the fight against violent crime in the right direction in New Orleans.”
In comparing numbers from the first quarter of 2022 versus the same time frame, the department has seen the rate of increase in violent crimes fall from a 32% increase in January 2022 versus January 2021 down to a 5% increase in April 2022 versus April 2021.
To continue its mission to combat violent crime, the NOPD is once again partnering with LSP and will enact Operation Golden Eagle 2, a follow-up to the highly successful operation that ran during the summer of 2021.
“The City of New Orleans benefitted from the results of this operation last summer, and we intend to make sure the city benefits again,” Ferguson said.
At the end of May 2021, prior to Operation Golden Eagle’s implementation, the city saw a spike in violent crime with an average of 82 violent crimes per week. By the end of Operation Golden Eagle in September 2021, that average was reduced to an average of 53 violent crimes per week.
The goals of this year’s operation will be the same as its predecessor – to increase public safety; deter criminal activity; identify and remove victims of human trafficking; locate and arrest fugitives from justice; seize contraband; remove as many illegal guns from circulation as possible; and to implement a curfew plan for the summer that can be sustained with a truancy enforcement plan in the coming school year.
In addition to Operation Golden Eagle 2, the department will implement a pilot program this summer that will have officers in the department’s eight field operations districts moving to 12-hour work shifts.
“We have heard the concerns of our citizens,” Ferguson said. “By having more officers on the streets through undertaking this shift in deployment, we hope to improve our response time, deter any furtherance of crime and create more visibility. You may also see additional traffic checkpoints.
We have also heard from our officers regarding this shift and believe it will have a positive impact on morale.”
The pilot program will be evaluated before the end of the summer for effectiveness and efficiency, addressing appropriate staffing while keeping in mind the respective challenges each district faces.
The superintendent stressed to the community that the NOPD remains committed to keeping the citizens of and visitors to New Orleans safe and to taking violent offenders off the streets.
“With the success we had with Operation Golden Eagle last summer, believe this operation has the same potential for success,” Ferguson said.