Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Desire Terrorist

The Cleanup Begins

While the cases against the officers and their accomplices were being prepared by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Pennington was taking the first steps toward reforming NOPD. With the blessings of the Morial administration and the overwhelming support of the public, he began raising the standards for acceptance to the Police Academy. In early January 1995, he fired six new recruits-in-training for "prior arrests, unfavorable military records and unacceptable employment histories" and began a policy of zero tolerance toward those deemed unfit to wear the NOPD uniform.

Pennington also revamped the Internal Affairs Division, renaming it the Public Integrity Division, and he moved it out of police headquarters to ensure confidentiality to citizens lodging complaints. Many citizens had reportedly been intimidated by the presence of so many police officers when they went to HQ to file a report with IAD. Pennington also announced that the FBI would have agents working directly with the department to help upgrade its standards and weed out corruption. Several new homicide detectives were added to the department as well. In addition, he made it harder for the department to expunge records of the officers under his command.

In the years to come, Pennington would significantly upgrade the department's communications network, installing modern computers and other technological improvements. A COMSTAT program he instituted solidified all districts and their commanders into a more cohesive unit encompassing the entire city. Prior to that, each district operated semi-autonomously. The lack of consistent contact between them hampered the effectiveness of the entire police department, giving the upper hand to the criminals who exploited this chaos to their advantage. Community policing was stepped up, involving more citizens in the process, and police substations were established in some of the more troubled housing projects and neighborhoods.

Pennington also issued a department-wide ban on officers pulling details at bars or other venues where the sale of alcohol is a primary revenue source. In an effort to get a handle on off-duty details and break up unsanctioned detail-brokering, he mandated that all details be cleared by and paid through his office. Officers were prohibited from working more than 20 hours a week on details. Ranking officers were forbidden to work details under lower ranking patrolmen and Pennington also clamped down on officers profiting from the leasing of police equipment, horses and K-9 dogs.

The superintendent's edicts on details were opposed by PANO and several members of the City Council, which controlled the department's purse strings. However, Pennington mollified them somewhat by pledging to push for pay raises that would help the officers make up for their losses. Later that year a 5% raise was enacted and more would come later.

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