Last year, New Orleanians heralded the hiring of a new NOPD Superintendent as a fresh start (even if the person in question is known to have had his eye on this post for more than 15 years’ time). I wonder: Just how much meaningful change is possible when the NOPD continues to keep officers on board in prominent roles who have well-documented tarnished records or, at the very least, who might have axes to grind?
Major Raymond C. Burkart, Jr. has a history of questionable actions stretching back through multiple NOPD command reconfigurations, including allegedly threatening an assistant U.S. attorney in 2001 and being indicted on bankruptcy fraud charges, as detailed by The Gambit in 2003. In light of recent events, I find it curious that Maj. Burkart has reportedly recently been assigned by the NOPD to work within the troubled 9-1-1 emergency dispatch center.
Captain Frederick C. Morton of the NOPD’s Inspection Division wrote the report issued in March 2011 that threw a spotlight on the police detail work issue; this report also cited the NOPD Eighth District for downgrading reported crimes to perhaps paint an impression of improvement. However, Capt. Morton has also been discovered to be the agent of record for “Rosewood Watchmen, LLC” which was also recently suspended from doing detail work. Isn’t that a bit like the cast-iron pot calling the kettle black (while acting like it’s porcelain and also microwave-safe)?
Captain Norvel Orazio was fired by former NOPD Superintendent Eddie Compass from the post of First District Commander (in which he’d succeeded Compass) for reducing criminal charges to lesser offenses in an attempt to make it appear that crime was on the decline in his District. So why, then, is Capt. Orazio currently employed by the NOPD in the Third District? Oh, right. He was reinstated by the City of New Orleans. Some suggest that the crucial factor in this reversal of fortune was the possibility that “Compass’ record was not unassailable…”.
Captain Michael Glasser is admittedly the curious outlier in this list (One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong!). While his actions do not beat a path to incidents of disciplinary action or the taint of corruption, it should be noted that he has been critical of Supt. Serpas’ reform efforts. Even his semi-positive responses to Supt. Serpas’ actions seem, at best, like backhanded compliments (such as these remarks regarding a recent NOPD employee survey):
“Capt. Michael Glasser, head of the Police Association of New Orleans, which represents officers’ interests, said the results were encouraging. But he added that he wished more officers had participated.
“‘The survey certainly reflects what the respondents said, but it doesn’t reflect all of the officers,’ said Glasser, who acknowledged taking part in the survey.”
In New Orleans, gossip and rumors are accepted as time-honored components of our city’s eclectic social currency. There’s been a lot of talk going around as of late… Some are saying that these specific members of the NOPD’s upper brass were displeased with potential reform efforts to be implemented by Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
If these four men aren’t able to attack Supt. Serpas directly, is it possible that they’re using a strategy of “the best defense is a good offense” and any available means to target the Superintendent indirectly?