Residents identify NOPD following up as a top concern at first Community Engagement Night Out
About a dozen community members attended the NOPD’s Third District’s first ever “Community Engagement Night Out,” a meeting where residents were asked a series of public safety questions to identify top priorities and concerns among the company of police district leadership and officers.
These engagement meetings were held for each district, and Gentilly’s meeting took place on Oct. 13 at the St. Bernard Recreational Center. Four Third District officers including Commander Gary Marchez came to the meeting, and Marchese chose Reid Raymond, a member of the Lakeview Neighborhood Watch, as the independent facilitator for the evening.
The public wrote down their answers to Raymond’s questions regarding public safety on sticky notes, and then Marchez read over all the notes and brought some up for discussion. Questions asked by Raymond included the biggest issues police should address in the neighborhood and how the public and NOPD can work together to solve those issues.
An issue that the commander said he saw on sticky notes across the board was the number of auto burglaries reported in the Third District.
“That was the prevailing theme of 95% of them,” Marchese said.
One resident described the issue as a “lock it or lose it thing,” as most auto burglaries in the district occur when car doors are left unlocked at night. Marchese told residents that the week prior the Third District had several firearms taken from inside vehicles, and that auto burglaries are a weekly occurrence.
Communication between the NOPD on the back-end was a major issue at the meeting. Resident Mike Dejoie spoke about the NOPD not responding to a detailed written letter that he delivered months ago to the station on 4750 Paris Avenue about a shooting he reported near his home.
The public suggested to the commander that the district improve officer’s frequency of conducting follow-ups after the civilians’ initial reporting and contact with the police. Raymond asked Marchese to specifically mark that follow-up was an issue, and the commander agreed that the concern should be addressed.
“Communication seems to be the common thread,” Marchese said.
Marchese also agreed with the public that there needs to be more friendly engagement between the youth and the NOPD in the community. Interacting with youth through sports events hosted by NORD or through educational events, where officers can visit children in school were listed as suggestions.
The meeting covered how citizens can do their part to work with the NOPD, which includes coming to the monthly New Orleans Neighborhood Police Anti-crime Council (NONPACC) community meetings.
“The commander will be making a formal response to the comments at the NONPAC meeting,” Raymond said.
Raymond of the Lakeview Neighborhood Watch regularly attends the monthly NONPACC meetings, and he proposed citizens wishing to be more informed or involved with public safety take classes at the eight week police academy program hosted by the Special Operations Division Compound located on 1899 Tchoupitoulas Street.
Residents can meet with the NOPD again at a public meting at the next Management Analytics for Excellence (MAX) meeting held at the Third District Police Station on 4750 Paris Avenue on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.