Viewpoint: Politics is in the way of public safety, crime watchdog says

Raphael Goyeneche, head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said Wednesday (July 28) that the city’s political leadership “must step up and give the NOPD the resources they need to protect and serve the community. Politics needs to get out of the way of public safety. Citizens want to feel safe in their neighborhoods.”          

Earlier this week, the MCC released the Orleans Parish Violent Crime Maps, a three-year look at violent crime by police district. Also included are results from the New Orleans Crime Coalition’s 2021 Police Satisfaction and Police Policymaking surveys. 

The majority of Orleans Parish voters (64%) who participated in the surveys clearly stated they believe the city is not safe. An even larger majority (74%) said that the crime problem has worsened over the past year.

New commander to take over NOPD’s Second District

The New Orleans Police Department announced a change of command in the Second District, which oversees police services for Audubon, Carrollton, Hollygrove and other Uptown areas. Capt. Jeff Walls, the Second District commander since 2019, assumed command of the Eighth District on Friday. He replaced Capt. Anthony Caprera, who retired Friday after a 37-year career with NOPD. It’s Walls’ second leadership assignment to the Eighth District, which comprises the French Quarter, CBD, Marigny and Warehouse District. On Monday (June 21), Lt. Eric Gillard, the second in command in the Second District for the past four years, will be promoted to the rank of captain and assume command of the Second District.

Suspect, vehicle sought in Claiborne car wash homicide

The NOPD is seeking to locate and identify a person of interest and a vehicle in the investigation of a homicide that occurred Wednesday (Feb. 17) in the 3700 block of South Claiborne Avenue. The pictured suspect was seen at the Claiborne Avenue car wash where Bruce Gaten, 31, was shot to death at 3:19 p.m. The suspect was seen wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt with an unknown image on the front, dark colored jeans and dark shoes. The unknown suspect was observed driving the pictured silver 2016 Honda Pilot bearing Louisiana plate ZRT 457 with a bike rack affixed to the rear. The Honda was reported stolen.

Police arrest one suspect, seek another in string of armed carjackings

The NOPD has arrested Joshua Dean, 18, and has obtained an arrest warrant for Robert Garrett, 23, in the ongoing investigation of multiple armed carjacking incidents in Uptown neighborhoods and in the Navarre neighborhood and Jefferson Parish. NOPD Second District detectives determined that four recent armed carjacking incidents were related, three in the Uptown area. Two occurred in Carrollton on Feb. 9, one in the 8100 block of Green Street, targeting two women delivering food. It was quickly followed by another on Cohn and Pine streets.

Sobriety checkpoints planned for Wednesday night

The NOPD’s Traffic Division will conduct an upcoming sobriety checkpoint within Orleans Parish. The checkpoint will be in operation from 9 p.m. on Wednesday (March 18) through Thursday (March 19) at 5 a.m.
During this time, motorists will experience minimal delays at the checkpoint and should have the proper documentation available if requested by officers (proof of vehicle insurance, driver’s license, etc.)

‘There will be some changes’: NOPD chief to meet with krewe captains on safety

New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Fergusen said the NOPD will meet with the mayor’s Mardi Gras advisory committee, krewe captains and others to review Carnival safety. “We lost two lives this Carnival season,” he said during a press conference on Monday. “It’s very disheartening.” During the Nyx parade on Wednesday, Belinda ‘Puggy’ Carmouche, 58, was run over and killed by the second section of tandem float on Magazine Street. Then, on Saturday night, Joseph Sampson, 58, was fatally struck when he got between two units of a three-section Endymion float at South Galvez and Canal Street. After Sampson’s death, the mayor and public safety officials outlawed tandem floats for the rest of the season, sending krewes scrambling to break up floats and find additional tractors and drivers.