Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Those Who Stayed Behind To Work: New Orleans Police

It's hard to imagine a job worse than being a New Orleans policeman for the past week.
The last week has been a series of nonstop rescue missions, shootouts in the night and forays into foul-smelling shelters in response to gunshots and reports of rape for Sergeant Sandoz and the others on the New Orleans police force. And like most everyone else in New Orleans, police officers have been traumatized by the loss of homes and family members.

Morale on the police force is in tatters. About 500 officers - a third of the force and far more than previously estimated - have dropped out of the daily lineup. Some of them may still be in houses cut off by the storm or may have simply gone off to help their families and will eventually return. But most of the missing officers have either told their superiors that they were quitting or simply walked off the job. Two officers have shot themselves to death.
I'm not too sure about the walking off the job part. I later heard that most of those who had allegedly quit, were doing their jobs but weren't able to getin touch with anyone.

The city has offered them a week in Las Vegas as the military moves in to take their place, but most seem to just want a couple of nights of sleep and to spend some quiet time with their families.