Via ABC News:
Close to 60 recent recruits were accepted into New Orleans Police Department training academy classes despite red flags for several “risk factors,” including possible drug use, unpaid child support and domestic abuse, federal monitors said.
Their report, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, was the latest black eye for a depleted department working to beef up manpower and reverse decades of scandal that included the fatal shootings of unarmed civilians after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The monitors stopped short of saying unfit officers are being trained and hired, but their report listed more than a dozen “risk factors” that popped up in recruit records.
Among them, the report found, were instances of unstable work histories, “deceptive use of mental illness to gain separation from an armed service,” and “patterns of deception” on voice-stress lie detector tests.
The report also decried a lack of documentation as to why some of the questionable recruits were approved for training.
“The existence of these and other risk indicators in the recruit files, without evidence of meaningful follow-up, suggests to us NOPD may be accepting candidates into the Academy who should not be NOPD officers,” it said.
Police chief Michael Harrison said the department is addressing problems outlined in the 28-page report. However, he also insisted that the department has been diligent in hiring qualified officers.
“There comes a point when we have to figure out: How much do we forgive a person for minor things they did in their past life?” Harrison said. “And none of us are hiring angels. None of us are hiring saints.”