In an effort to clean up a police force that has been plagued by decades of corruption and mismanagement, a federal agreement to implement police reforms within the New Orleans Police Department was signed Tuesday, reported the Associated Press.
The agreement lists several requirements aimed at improving the current policies and procedures, including recording of interrogations, which has been shown to prevent wrongful convictions based on false confessions. According to United States Attorney General Eric Holder, the 124-page proposed overhaul is the most wide ranging in Justice Department history.
“There can be no question that today’s action represents a critical step forward,” Holder said. “It reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to fair and vigorous law enforcement at every level.”
A federal judge is to approve the agreement and then manage its implementation. But Holder said Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas didn’t wait for the agreement to be signed before establishing the reforms.
“The problems that we have identified were many years in the making and preceded this current administration,” Holder said. “They are wide-ranging and they are deeply-rooted. Sustainable reform will not occur overnight, but we can all be encouraged that it is already happening here thanks to the leadership of Mayor Landrieu, Chief Serpas and so many others.”
In previous years, the Justice Department has reached similar agreements with police departments in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Oakland and Detroit. Mayor Landrieu estimates the city will spend roughly $11 million per year for the next four or five years to implement the reforms.
Read about the Innocence Project’s
for recording interrogations.