“Probation and parole officers have the authority and responsibility to keep tabs on these known offenders, but it’s a demanding job and they have a heavy workload. The Enhanced Supervision Program will allow them to step up their supervision of those most likely to re-offend.” Cynthia hedge-morrell, District D councilwoman
In an effort to fight crime and violence in the city, a New Orleans City Council member is proposing a program that would increase supervision of those on probation and parole.
A motion by Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, to be introduced at Thursday’s council meeting, would allow the city to enter into an agreement with the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation and New Orleans District Probation and Parole to form a so-called Enhanced Supervision Program.
Under the proposal, teams of probation and parole officers would conduct random visits at night to homes of probationers and parolees. The program would run for six months and cost $15,000, with the money to come from the City Council’s operating budget.
“We are frequently told that about 5 percent of the population is responsible for about 80 percent of the crime in New Orleans, and for the most part these people are already in the system,” said Hedge-Morrell, who represents District D.
“Probation and parole officers have the authority and responsibility to keep tabs on these known offenders, but it’s a demanding job and they have a heavy workload.
“The Enhanced Supervision Program will allow them to step up their supervision of those most likely to re-offend.”
The proposed memorandum of understanding with the other organizations says the Police Department’s 7th District commander would be responsible for the “policy, program involvement and direction of the ESP law enforcement strategies.”
The City Council members from Districts D and E, among others, would be consulted for other program initiatives.
The NOPD’s 7th District is made up of New Orleans East and a small part of Gentilly. City Council Districts D and E include all of Gentilly, as well as the East.
Four probation and parole officers would be assigned to four-hour shifts four nights per month.
Crime trends also could dictate staffing, which could be coordinated with the NOPD’s 7th District “in order to provide a greater presence and enhanced officer security,” the document says.
The memorandum of understanding would be in effect from Dec. 1 to May 31.
The Police and Justice Foundation would help to manage the program for the City Council. It also would provide reports and analysis of results.
A similar effort was undertaken in 2009 using grant money.
The foundation reported that the extra evening hours resulted in “a significant number of contacts and arrests that took prolific offenders off the streets” in a target area and led to a decline in crime.
“We anticipate similar results from this program,” said Melanie Talia, CEO of the Police and Justice Foundation.
This time, probation and parole officers are to develop criteria to identify high-risk offenders. They are to focus their efforts on parts of the city where the effect would be the greatest, Hedge-Morrell said.
Officers would be able to take administrative action if any probation or parole violations are found during visits.
Likewise, if new criminal offenses are discovered, they would be forwarded to the Police Department and District Attorney’s Office for arrest and prosecution.