According to an editorial in the New Orleans Times Picayune, the New Orleans Police Department has allowed officers who have lied on the job or filed false police reports to get away with it in the past. But, a new standard that will take effect this week makes any NOPD member at risk for immediate dismissal if caught withholding the truth or covering up evidence.
While it should go without saying that a cover-up or concealing evidence is grounds for being fired, the New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas made a point to announce the new rule.
“If you lie, you die,” Superintendent Serpas said in announcing the new standard. “If you tell this Police Department a lie about anything, you will be terminated.”
The new rule is part of a larger strategy announced by Serpas and New Orleans to repair the city’s police department. Department-wide reviews by the U.S. Justice Department and an audit of questionable crime statistics are also part of the plan.
While most law enforcement officers and prosecutors are honest and trustworthy, the possibility for corruption exists. Even if one officer of every thousand is dishonest, wrongful convictions will continue to occur. The police misconduct in the NOPD taints the reputation of their honest colleagues.