NEW ORLEANS -
The Council voted in favor of a motion authored by Council President Jason Williams and District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett authorizing the issuance and advertisement of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a public safety consultant. As stated in Motion M-17-526
, public safety is a vital function of local government and is critical to the City's success. With its passing, the Council has expressed its intent to retain a public safety consultant to provide expertise and assess efficiency opportunities with the primary goal of to make New Orleans a safer place.
Councilmember Jason Williams said, "Public safety accounts for the lion's share of our budget each year because it is the paramount issue for all of our families. That budget grows bigger every year but we are not getting better outcomes, incidents of crime are not relenting. We cannot continue to just throw money at the problem. We need to be strategic and surgical. We cannot be afraid to try new approaches. We also have to meticulously track all data to ensure that our dollars are spent wisely and yielding the dividends promised. As the Council demands that other branches of government, agencies and departments use data and best practices to rethink the way they do things, we the city council need to do the same."
"As our criminal justice agencies continue to evolve to a place where policies and overall culture align with national best practices, we need to take aggressive action to foster this growth and make responsible investments. With this expert analyst, we will have the ability to gather and analyze data from all of our criminal justice agencies, learn how the data of one agency influences the next, and how that inter-agency information can be better communicated between silos."
District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett who co-sponsored the motion said, "The retention of a public safety consultant will allow the Council to gain the independent and expert analysis needed to assess criminal justice data and make sound decisions regarding resource allocation."
With this effort, the Council hopes to institutionalize the need for evolution. It represents a very big step toward a more collaborative process in which the Council will work together and alongside other government agencies and community partners to ensure informed decision-making when it comes to spending public money.
"In regards to public safety, I fully believe in building upon the spirit of collaboration so that these decisions aren't coming solely from the Mayor," said District "B" Councilmember LaToya Cantrell. "This will force us to work together as a team to make this City safer because we still haven't seen a real impact from the systems we have in place now. This represents a great step in the right direction for this Council and entire City of New Orleans."
Councilmember Williams went on saying, "We have a window right now in our state to push hard and make real strides in improving our criminal justice system. The people of the city deserve better, the children of this city should be able to ride their bikes around our neighborhoods without fear."