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Grand Jury to probe New Orleans Police, but...

District Attorney Eddie Jordan has announced that a Louisiana grand jury will investigate the NOPD. Their purview appears to be a bit broad. Among the controversies they'll investigate include:
the theft of the Cadillac cars
the shooting involving the contractors on the bridge
And:

The grand jury also will look at evidence in a case involving a police chief and police officer from the small town of Mermentau who were accused of looting after Katrina. And it will examine allegations of possible malfeasance involving a Port of New Orleans official who dismissed about 60 port security officers who could have helped protect a mall and taken part in rescue efforts.
Jordan said the grand jury will probably also look into the deaths of patients at hospitals during Katrina and investigate whether the levees and floodwalls that broke were improperly built.

Then, they'll break for lunch.
If they were going to look into what might be even more important, I'm sure it would have been listed, but it isn't: phantom police

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NOPD phantom cops: real or fiction?

Snopes says this claim is false:

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin created a phantom force of 700 "virtual policemen."

Eddie Compass now hotel security consultant

The former head of the NOPD has a new gig: security consultant for New Orleans Fine Hotels.

51 NOPD cops fired; 240 "missing": phantom cops?

From New Orleans Fire Officers for Desertion:

Amid the chaos that ensued as Hurricane Katrina struck the city, dozens of police officers and civilian employees left their posts unexpectedly and were not heard from again. On Friday, the New Orleans Police Department fired 51 of them _ 45 officers and six civilian workers _ for abandonment.
"They either left before the hurricane or 10 to 12 days after the storm and we have never heard from them," acting police superintendent Warren Riley said.
Police were unable to account for 240 officers on the 1,450-member force following Katrina. The force has been investigating them to see if they left their posts during the storm...

Now, see "FBI investigating NOPD corruption, phantom cops; $5k bonus". Hundreds of NOPD officers might have existed only on paper.
UPDATE: To avoid confusion, see also "NOPD phantom cops: real or fiction?"

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Dallas PD decline employing former NOPD cops

...because after a check it turned out that some of them were deserters.

Is the NOPD prepared for returnees? National Guard, active duty figures.

From "Crimefighting Faces Challenge in Big Easy":

[...911 is a joke...]
"We just don't have enough police officers to handle the calls we're getting," said New Orleans Councilman Jay Batt, who has received calls from more than 100 other residents with similar concerns...
The streets of New Orleans are patrolled now by a much-reduced force.
The National Guard whose uniformed soldiers and Humvees were a daily fixture in the weeks immediately after Hurricane Katrina now has 2,361 people in New Orleans, down from more than 6,000 after the storm struck Aug. 29, said a spokesman, Lt. Col. Pete Schneider.
Some see the absence of such patrols today as a sign of progress, but others say it increases the strain on the city's already-fractured police force.
About 300 federal, state and out-of-state officers remain on the streets, [NOPD spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo] said, as little as one-tenth the level after Katrina hit. The city's police force is said to number about 1,500, down about 200 officers from before the storm...

But, what about the phantom NOPD cops?

The active-duty military has 257 people in Louisiana, but all but a dozen are medical support personnel. That's in contrast to just under 20,000 active-duty personnel right after Katrina...

"NOPD officers hide IDs while chasing off charity workers"

From this:

...two NOPD officers threatened workers from a charitable organization [Barefoot Doctors' Academy] cleaning a park and providing free food and medical care to the needy. A CityBusiness reporter was forcibly ejected from the park while taking photos.
NOPD public information officials did not answer phone calls to comment on the incident...

Another group involved was the "Rainbow Family of Living Light, a national coalition focused on community building and alternative lifestyles". Missouri National Guard troops arrived and chased off the cops.

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"Rebuilding a Police Department"

The LAPD cop who uses the name "Jack Dunphy" has some suggestions for the NOPD:

...1. Hire a recognized leader to head the department...
...2. Reward the officers who endured the hardships of Katrina, and fire those who didn't...
...3. Eliminate the residency requirement for police officers...
...4. Hire officers at all ranks from other agencies...
...5. Institute a realistic disaster plan for the city...

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AP has rundown of NOPD condition, situation

The AP summary/conglomeration of other articles printed here as "New Orleans Police Struggle With Upheaval" contains mostly non-news personal interest story stuff. It also has this:

When Katrina passed, the department found itself without communications, with officers cut off from each other and headquarters. Lawlessness spread through the city. Rescue workers reported being shot at. Police Superintendent Eddie Compass publicly repeated allegations - later debunked - that people were being beaten and babies raped at the convention center.

I don't know if I'd call those assertions "debunked". Some have certainly tried their best to do so. Yet, all those personal accounts are still out there. I guess some people would like them to have been debunked, and that's all that matters.

At least two officers took their own lives in Katrina's aftermath. Compass resigned last month. At the same time, the 1,450-member department said it was investigating nearly 250 officers accused of leaving their posts and 12 suspected of looting or condoning looting. Authorities are also looking into allegations officers took nearly 200 cars from a Cadillac dealership during the storm.
On Saturday night, Robert Davis was bloodied by officers using their fists, and another officer attacked an Associated Press Television News producer who helped capture the incident on tape.

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NOPD cops plead not guilty in beating matter; UPDATED

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Three New Orleans police officers pleaded not guilty Monday to battery charges based on a videotape showing two patrolmen repeatedly punching a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication and a third officer grabbing and shoving an Associated Press Television News producer who helped capture the confrontation on tape...

There are two videos of the incident at the link.
Previously: AP pics NOPD beating; photog gets warned off
UPDATE: From "Victim of police beating says he was sober":

A retired elementary teacher who was repeatedly punched in the head by police in an incident caught on videotape said Monday he was not drunk, put up no resistance and was baffled by what happened.
Robert Davis said he had returned to New Orleans to check on property his family owns in the storm-ravaged city and was out looking to buy cigarettes when he was beaten and arrested Saturday night in the French Quarter...
A federal civil rights investigation was begin in the case. Davis is black. The three city police officers seen on the tape are white...

From the CNN link above:

Three of the officers appeared to be white, and the other is light skinned.

10/14/05 UPDATE: From this:

One of the three New Orleans police officers suspended and charged in connection with the videotaped beating of a retired teacher in the French Quarter received psychiatric treatment after an apparent suicide attempt in the mid-1990s, but was hired as a cop about a year later when he passed the department's psychological tests, according to his attorney and three people who worked with the officer before he joined the force.

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