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NOPD Revamping Sexual Assault Crimes Investigations

New Orleans is expanding the scope of how sexual assault investigations are conducted. Police will get extra training and help from other groups.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the city has a long history of not properly responding to sexual assault cases, and his own past reform plans fell short.

“For too long, quite frankly, in this city of responding to sexual assault," Landrieu said. "Unfortunately we did not when we first initiated this, pull the problem out by the root. And that’s what transformational reform requires.”  

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says police will have help.

“Now more than ever before, the city, the criminal justice system, the advocacy groups, victims of sexual assault are working together," Harrison said. "I’m committed, we’re all committed to continue this great work to improve the trust between the police and the community, to build an environment where victims of sexual assault have the confidence in the New Orleans Police Department to investigate their cases properly and professionally.”    

The reform effort addresses problems brought to light by the U.S. Justice Department and the city Inspector General.

Other changes announced yesterday include moving the police Sex Crimes Unit to the New Orleans Family Justice Center, where victims can meet with detectives and connect to support services. New policies, procedures and training requirements have also begun.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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