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Respectfully Disagreeing With My Fellow Wizbangers

Kevin called me because he thought I would be outraged by the mayor promising vacations to the New Orleans first responders as he and Jay were. Sorry guys, with all due respect, you don't get it....

And I'll add that in general about 85% of what you hear on blogs and cable news is wrong is some way. Let me explain. There is one name that probably prompted this... Paul Accardo.

Sgt. Accadro was the department spokesman and in a job where it is easy to be universally hated he was near universally liked and respected. Details are still sketchy but from what we can tell after seeing the death and destruction of his city, he came home to find his entire family had drowned during the levee break. (that's probably about 85% confirmed) What we do know is what happened next. Sgt. Accardo, (along with another officer this week) took his own life.

His death reverberated thru the city and especially the police force instantly. The New Orleans police have been to hell. Literally. We had about 2 days less warning than we usually have for a hurricane. One minute we were leading our lives and in what seemed like no time we trying to save our lives. These gentlemen (and ladies) have witnessed horrors the rest of us can not even fathom in our worst nightmares.

At present, the NOPD is growing irrelevant. The national guard has armed choppers flying over the city 24/7. Anyone caught looting will be killed from above. Period.

The town is flooded and largely abandoned. There is nothing to patrol. These guys need to leave. They need to sit in a hotel room and cry for a few days.

In a few weeks, when the water gets pumped out, these guys will be called on to do a job that few of us want to do. They'll be retrieving corpses that are weeks old... Some of the corpses will be their friends. They'll be fighting to keep order in a town where there is none. Their horror is only beginning.

Do I begrudge them a few days off while the water is pumped out? Hell no.

I just hope it is enough to keep them sane when they have every right to go stalk raving mad.

Update I should have added one important thing... New Orleans has a residency requirement. Admittedly many officers cheat and live outside the parish (county) but in general all of these folks lost their homes and all their possessions this week too. Think about it.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Respectfully Disagreeing With My Fellow Wizbangers:

» camedwards.com linked with Nagin's Grand Idea (farrah)

» Kerfuffles linked with Mayor Dissed Again

» Overtaken by Events linked with Calling BS

» Jeff Blogworthy.com linked with What you should know about the N.O. Police Dept.

» Random Numbers linked with Katrina: The Chickenhawk Comes Home To Roost.

» respublica linked with Comfort comfort ye my people

» The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill linked with Sending police on vacation is simply one more bad

» Striderweb linked with Flood of Corruption

Comments (57)

Paul, you nailed it.<... (Below threshold)

Paul, you nailed it.

The men and women who stayed on post throughout this ordeal deserve a hell of a lot more than a couple of days away. Grab an airliner, load 'em up and take them someplace dry and safe.

I also found the scare quotes around "traumitized" not a little offensive. Being trapped someplace with limited communications, death and destruction all around and, to make things even more fun, armed gangs that would just love a chance to shoot you, probably would qualify as being somewhat traumatic.

>I also found the scare quo... (Below threshold)

>I also found the scare quotes around "traumitized" not a little offensive

Frankly, so did I. -- I understand where the guys are coming from, I just don't think they thought it thru.

I still wish it didn't have... (Below threshold)

I still wish it didn't have to be Vegas... and Nagin, Ebbert, Riley & co. (and the NYT) should just state this plainly - that things have been turned over to the National Guard, their officers are traumatized, and this is for their health - for the health of those who have really, truly lost everything (and not for those that deserted or who are otherwise taking advantage of a "free" trip).

I wish they had seen the signs earlier, and removed those who's spirits were about to break.

That NYT article raises more questions than it answers.

<a href="http://www.firstco... (Below threshold)
I believe I read that some ... (Below threshold)

I believe I read that some of the National Guard just returned home from a tour in Iraq and are being redeployed to New Orleans, albeit at government expense.

Not exactly the same kind of "all expenses paid" vacation.

A reprieve to reassess one'... (Below threshold)

A reprieve to reassess one's family situation and recharge seems reasonable, in fact, required to maintain a functional entity. Furthermore, if the only places to board are in Las Vegas or Atlanta, then I guess one goes where the carpet is red and the drinks are free. One cannot begrudge them of that.

However, wholesale reallocation of resources may be a bit free-wheeling. I'm reminded of the video of N.O. security personnel "shopping" for shoes while the store was being looted. Is this collection to be rewarded for their "grief"? No doubt some have been traumatized to the point of dysfunction and they will have our sympathies. Others, however, will merely exploit once again. We should not reflexively reward without some sense of merit to winnow out the undeserving. Assets will be sparse in the coming years as this catatrophe will strain even the most philanthropic. And, well, taxes for resurrection will be as popular five years from now as they were two weeks ago before the floods tested the decades of indifference and delay. How judiciously will these monies be allocated in view of the massive expenses piling up like so much ravaged debris?

Clearly, we are too far removed, and perhaps the management is too, to discern who was a trusty soldier worthy of our greatest compassion and who was an opportunistic predator deserving of incarceration.

Maybe it's unfair to relate the two but I harken back to 9/11 in NYC. That was as traumatic an experience as any collection of civil servants can experience and they, collectively, soldiered on. Maybe that was an unreasonable expectation and I still, in my reflection, remain in awe of their dedication and steadfastness - nonetheless, they did it themselves and sought neither reprieve nor recompense. I don't recall vacations doled out to them in the week following the WTC collapse. Maybe they were and it was not publicly reported. True, the victims did not lose their homes, but is there really that much left to a home when a spouse or family member is so brutally destroyed? Is the loss of assets (much of which will be replaced) really that much more impactful compared to the loss of acquaintances and family? While those who lose both are more affected, isn't temporary (or permanent) property loss rather marginal in the grand scheme of things?

The cynic in me still perceives this as a political move by the mayor to score points with the civil servants... points that he'll need come election day when everyone evaluates his performance prior to and under diress.

If nothing else, it gives t... (Below threshold)

If nothing else, it gives them a chance to rest while the leadership on New Orleans attempts to get it's act together. It's not exactly like I could complain about anyone taking a little vacation anyway.

Yeah, I'm going to get blas... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

Yeah, I'm going to get blasted for this, but I'll say it.

At the risk of appearing to be an insensitive jerk, I disagree. First, their performance as a department was truly abysmal. Protecting and defending is their job and the department as a whole did neither. Second, where's the all expense paid vacations for the 40,000+ who were stuck in the Superdome and Convention Center and left to the mercy of the mob by the very police who are now off with their families to LV or Atlanta? Many of those folks have no idea where their families are for starters and all have no idea if they even have a job left.

Where were the all-expense paid vacations for our Marines after Fallujah? How about after the fall of Baghdad? How about all emergency workers after 9/11.

If this was the plan 6 months from now, okay, I could see it. But not while the dead are still floating.

Fire away.

To follow up the previous c... (Below threshold)

To follow up the previous comment ...

All over the country you can find T-shirts celebrating the New York Police and Fire departments for their courage on 9-11. Do you think anyone is going to be wearing a shirt celebrating the NOPD?

I live close enough to Chic... (Below threshold)

I live close enough to Chicago that their politics are our main entertainment. But I'll give the mayor and PD this much: Chicago cops would never have walked off the job. Not while there was one person to be rescued. (They also would have shot rioters and rapists right off the bat and Daley would have backed them up.)

The National Guard s... (Below threshold)

The National Guard spokepeople keep saying that they are in a supporting role and that even if there's one NO police officer left, they support him and are not in charge.

I also seriously doubt that in America the National Guard is flying around in helicopters killing people with TVs in their arms. Even in Somalia the military was not allowed to kill people except to save their own lives or someone else's.

In regards to the actual substance of the post, I agree. The NO police can't be effective in their current state so it makes perfect sense to replace them for the time being with officers from other parts of Louisiana. Let them get their own lives in order and then see if they're ready to go back.

Cardinals Nation, The difference between the people in the Super Dome and the NO police is that the NO police have a job to do and need to get back on their feet faster so they can help other people get back on their feet.

...also, Cardinal Na... (Below threshold)

...also, Cardinal Nation, the difference between the Marines from Falujah and the NO police is that the soldiers coming back form Iraq aren't coming back to find out that their homes have been wiped out and members of their family are dead.

These NOPD guys are sure ge... (Below threshold)

These NOPD guys are sure getting treated much better than the FDNY survivors on 9/11 did, and what they went through is no less traumatizing. And I dare say they did a helluva better job

Paul sez...."At pr... (Below threshold)

Paul sez....

"At present, the NOPD is growing irrelevant."

I thing the NOPD performance to date confirms this all too sadly, but I would delete the word "growing". The contrast with the NYPD/NYFD is stunning, I can't wait for the books.

Cardinals Nation - <p... (Below threshold)

Cardinals Nation -

You won't get blasted from me, but I have rethought my earlier position and now believe that getting NOPD out of area is a benefit to the National Guard in much the same way not having the French and UN more involved in the invasion in Iraq. Fewer opportunities for screw ups and turf wars.

As for Mayor Nagin's judgment? Who cares, he's toast. How many trips did he make to the Superdome or Convention Center when it counted? None that I saw. He did crawl out from under his desk for a couple of press conferences. What a joke.

I won't blast Cardinals Nat... (Below threshold)

I won't blast Cardinals Nation either, but I will disagree. Yes the police department as a whole (and frankly, the city) has performed abysmally -- but in even the worst agency there are good people, and what these cops have been enduring, right alongside the other victims of this disaster, needs to be taken into due consideration.

Or to put it more briefly, ... (Below threshold)

Or to put it more briefly, the city let down all of its citizens, including whatever minority of the police force were actually good cops.

Perhaps while the NOPD is p... (Below threshold)

Perhaps while the NOPD is partying in Vegas, they will lift a glass to the National Guard?

Let the NOPD have some pers... (Below threshold)

Let the NOPD have some personal days off to take care of their affairs, family and friends; sure, why not? Send them to Las Vegas, not a chance. What's the point? Las Vegas isn't the place to find emotional support.

Of course, when the honest civil servants find out how incompetent the elected officials are, they may want the guys with the guns far away.

>Second, where's the all ex... (Below threshold)

>Second, where's the all expense paid vacations for the 40,000+ who were stuck in the Superdome and Convention Center and left to the mercy of the mob by the very police who are now off with their families to LV or Atlanta?

If they are ready to sign on the dotted line and work in horrific conditions pulling boated corpses from homes and trying to keep the peace maybe they should get a perk too.

Your analogy between people who just worked 7 days without a break (and will do it again) vs people who were passive victims is fatally flawed.

Have to say I disagree with... (Below threshold)

Have to say I disagree with you on this one.

Imagine the videos which are coming showing NOPD officers at the blackjack tables in Vegas while dead bodies are being pulled from mud-filled homes in the rowhouses of New Orleans.

Those videos are coming. And they will make the "police looting"videos pale by comparison.

I feel for the Sgt. that you mentioned in your story. Most of the police department in New Orleans conducted themselves as best as they could given the appaling lack of leadership they have (the emergency generators they had in their radio room, for example, were powered not by easily transportable and obtainable diesel fuel, but by natural gas lines that broke in the storm.)

I also felt for the 240 or so firemen who were killed when the twin towers collapsed.

I didn't see any NYFD or NYPD parties being thrown in Vegas 6 days after the terrorist attacks.

They stayed on the job for MONTHS and MONTHS, sifting through the wreckage, putting their city back together; attending funerals. And that's why we all wear NYFD hats; to show our respect for their dedication and professionalism.

Mayor Nagin has a political blind spot. He has few political skills, zero managerial skills, and would do better to spend his time figuring out how he's going to avoid criminal liability for his malfeasance in office rather than spending scare recovery resources on free trips to Vegas.

I still have the images of ... (Below threshold)

I still have the images of the NYPD and FDNY pulling bodies, including THEIR BUDDIES, from the smoldering rubble of the WTC for WEEKS and WEEKS after 9/11. I don't ever recall Rudy Guiliani or those heroic civil servants suggesting a vacation in Las Vegas. Not even Atlantic City. They knew there was a job that needed to be COMPLETED.

Which is the better example of leadership?

People keep talking ... (Below threshold)

People keep talking about a vacation in Vegas. Vegas and Atlanta were identified as places with enough available hotel rooms to accomodate hundreds of police officers without spreading them all over the country. I doubt any of them will be hitting the black jack tables. They'll be taking showers and using the phone to call their insurance agents, find family members, etc.

And, yes, FDNY and Marines and such are tougher than New Orleans PD; that doesn't make it a sound decision to keep a failing and exhausted PD force in place rather than replacing them. And no, I'm certainly not defending the incompetence of New Orleans' mayor.

Vegas is also, with fairly ... (Below threshold)

Vegas is also, with fairly minor string pulling, a really cheap place to stay for a few days, and flights are generally cheap to and from there. In a case like this, I'd say that most of it would be comped.

I think I generally ... (Below threshold)

I think I generally agree w/ all of that Paul.

One thing that I wonder about though. Does No even really exist as a municipality anymore? To what extent? I assume they haven't collected a penny of sales, tourism, or property taxes in over a week. And I assume it won't for some time into the future.


Hmmm.Frankly Paul ... (Below threshold)


Frankly Paul I disagree with you on this.

There's a lot of different ways to deal with this sort of situation. But sending members of the NOPD to *Las Vegas* isn't one of them.

I imagine when the former residents of New Orleans, currently inhabiting converted sports stadiums and sleeping on cots, hear about members of the NOPD having a blast in Last Vegas at the taxpayers expense, Ray Nagin will need those cops to keep him from getting lynched.

These officers might have had a hard time. Some of them might have done a good job. But overall the entire force should be fired en masse for cause, starting at the very top of the rank structure.

Hmmmm.I wonder if ... (Below threshold)


I wonder if Ray Nagin is buying votes. Or if he's buying witnesses.

Because, I think we're all on the page on this, there's going to be one f-all of an inquiry and someone is going to end up on the receiving end of a hangman's noose. Either metaphorically, or not.

Right now the only people who would have a comprehensive view of what was going on in New Orleans, as the individual victims would only have a view of what happened to them, would be emergency workers, firefighters and the NOPD.

I expect an inquiry to include testimony from some of the residents of New Orleans. But harshly negative testimony from first-responders could be a death sentence for Ray Nagin and/or his career.

That seems possibly logical.

RE: ed's post (September 5,... (Below threshold)

RE: ed's post (September 5, 2005 07:41 PM)

Egads! You mean, like, a bribe? Has the "Big Easy" ever had one of them thar thingies? I saw it in a movie once but I don't think it really happens.

Maybe it's unfair to re... (Below threshold)

Maybe it's unfair to relate the two but I harken back to 9/11 in NYC. That was as traumatic an experience as any collection of civil servants can experience and they, collectively, soldiered on.

Yes, it's unfair. The situation in New York was an isolated event, with a conclusion that occurred within hours of its onset. Electricity to the affected area was restored almost immediately. There was not water submerging the city streets. There was communications infrastructure and support from police and firefighters from other areas of the city almost instantly There was no significant lawlessness in the wake of the attacks. Officers were able to rotate off duty and go home to family and their homes if they chose.

There are ENORMOUS differences between 9/11 and Katrina. All of you downgrading the NOPD while propping up the NY or CHI departments are behaving boorishly. Nobody knows how those departments would respond in a similar situation. Thanks to geography and luck, they likely never will.

I agree with Paul.

The situation in New Yor... (Below threshold)

The situation in New York was an isolated event, with a conclusion that occurred within hours of its onset.

Really? I guess I imagined the fires that burned at the WTC site for over a month, as well as the months-long search and rescue efforts in that hell of a complex.

Nobody knows how those d... (Below threshold)

Nobody knows how those departments would respond in a similar situation. Thanks to geography and luck, they likely never will.

Actually, we do.

The NYPD and FDNY ran TOWARDS the danger on 9/11. They ran INTO the danger. I think we can fairly certain they'd distinguish themselves in a likewise manner in (god forbid) a future emergency

RE: bryan's post (September... (Below threshold)

RE: bryan's post (September 5, 2005 09:09 PM)

The commentary is one of relative performance in the context of the catastrophe and not the difference between catastrophes. Scale does make a difference but the overall response, at least from the reportage so far, seems pretty marked.

Officers were able to rotate off duty and go home to family and their homes if they chose.

Now that is a key point. Officers and firemen and other personnel chose not to leave from what I recall. They faced real dangers of toxins, fire, further collapse, and various other real threats knowing brothers/sisters in arms were crushed and killed in the debris. Their experience was every bit as daunting and emotional as the one had by the N.O. servants. Identical? No. But the 9/11 servants had their own set of unique experiences too and leaving the scene for vacation was neither in their plans nor was it suggested by the mayor that they do. Some had to be dragged from the site by observers and colleagues concerned about their stubborn refusals to take breaks.

I'm certain there were members in the N.O. civil service corps that felt and feel the same way. Collectively, however, one feels more inspired by the 9/11 response compared to the N.O. response despite valiant efforts of many in the tragic flood. I also recognize that the civil servants on 9/11 were better prepared and empowered to handle their situation. I don't know how far up the organizational chart one need review to see why the resources were not where they should be in the appropriate numbers and with the appropriate tools. Further investigations will assuredly delineate points of failure. At that point, our apple and orange comparisons will be more fruitful.

All of the arguments cited ... (Below threshold)

All of the arguments cited above for the 9/11 disaster only prove my point.

1. The NYPD and FDNY ran TOWARDS the danger on 9/11. They ran INTO the danger. I think we can fairly certain they'd distinguish themselves in a likewise manner in (god forbid) a future emergency

AND SO DID THE NOPD! But the suggestion that they are somehow derelict in their duty because their city leaders are contemplating this action is frankly bizarre.

2. The commentary is one of relative performance in the context of the catastrophe and not the difference between catastrophes. Scale does make a difference but the overall response, at least from the reportage so far, seems pretty marked.

Sorry, but scale DOES affect response. What you have heard about reportage is only a small picture of what actually occurred. Recall the images immediately following the attacks on the twin towers. There were literally hundreds of backup personnel who swarmed the scene. Heavy equipment worked into the night. Ant-lines of personnel streamed to the wreckage almost instantly. Emergency responders benefitted from having a single point to go to.

Now, contrast that with N.O. Officers worked in pairs, attempting to patrol portions of the city with few automobiles, little communication, limited firepower, and lawlessness threatening everywhere - with no power and no running water for several days. We're talking about a MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA, not just a few blocks of New York!

3. Some had to be dragged from the site by observers and colleagues concerned about their stubborn refusals to take breaks.

And some in the NOPD paid with their lives, as well. It should be noted AGAIN that this vacation idea did not spring from the officers on the ground, but from higher ups. Seeing the damage done to personal lives in the aftermath of 9/11, perhaps some higher ups should have found more ways to give their personnel time to decompress.

4. Really? I guess I imagined the fires that burned at the WTC site for over a month, as well as the months-long search and rescue efforts in that hell of a complex.

Yes, and you conveniently forgot that the event itself actually stopped soon after the towers fell. The event in NO included flooding that continued for at least 24 hours after the hurricane left, not to mention the events of civic breakdown in terms of looting, lawlessness, and frantic cries for help from all around, or the explosions and fires that burned uncontrolled because there was no way to reach the buildings with firefighting equipment.

Believe me, I don't want to get into a tit-for-tat comparison of the 9/11 and Katrina disasters. But using the suggestion of city leaders as an opportunity to bash dedicated officers who maintained their posts during times of extreme duress and saying that they somehow don't measure up to the valor of NY emergency personnel who had scads of support in the hours after the towers fell is crass.

News stories say that about... (Below threshold)

News stories say that about 200 of a 1,200 person force just turned in their badges and fled. If that's untrue, I'd like to hear about it. If it isn't NOPD deserves whatever criticism it gets.

News stories were saying ov... (Below threshold)

News stories were saying over 50 percent earlier in the day. Right now, there are a number that are unaccounted for. We don't know what happened to them. It's possible that after patrolling the streets for several days, they did give up. We know of at least two who took their own lives and one who was shot by looters. I'll reserve criticism until the facts are apparent.

I'm frankly amazed that people who spend so much time bashing the MSM for their shoddy reporting are so quick to accept whatever wild, unsubstantiated stories circulate these days.

RE: bryan's post (September... (Below threshold)

RE: bryan's post (September 5, 2005 11:14 PM)

...But using the suggestion of city leaders as an opportunity to bash dedicated officers who maintained their posts during times of extreme duress and saying that they somehow don't measure up to the valor of NY emergency personnel who had scads of support in the hours after the towers fell is crass.

Please reread my September 5, 2005 10:20 PM post before describing my response as crass. It was pretty considered.

I recognized that in N.O. "valiant efforts of many" existed and that "there were members in the N.O. civil service corps that felt and feel the same way [as their committed 9/11 counterparts]". I also will not discount the apparent abandonment of duties by a not insignificant number of officers (though that number is somewhat indeterminate) and the observed looting by some of them from video reports. I don't recall any of that happening on 9/11. Those were not behaviors handed down from management... they were personal decisions of questionable merit and I won't whitewash it with some politically correct brush. We have to recognize the good and the bad with the concomitant relativism to temper degrees of criticism. I figure the critics are doing just that.

My heart goes out to the li... (Below threshold)

My heart goes out to the likes of Sgt. Accardo and the many families affected by this terrible natural disaster.

If this horrible story is indeed true (and I have no reason to doubt it), then I am even more incensed at Blanco/Nagin's refusal to let the military have a greater role in law enforcement earlier in the week.

Aside from the rising water, the number one thing hampering any outside efforts to assist the citizens of NO was the complete breakdown of law and order. As we all witnessed, it's pretty damned hard to carry out relief ops when the relief workers are being shot at. Knowing that the local PD was not up to the task (for whatever the reasons), it's now clear that Blanco/Nagin were criminally negligent in not letting the feds take control earlier.

Anyone notice how stabilized the situation has become since Friday when Gen. Honore and his troops (working with various NG units) came to town?

It is one thing for poor an... (Below threshold)

It is one thing for poor and uninformed members of the public to stay behind. It is unbelievable that Sgt. Accardo would leave his family in NO during this storm.
Any police officer would surely have been familiar with the hurricane evacuation plan.

I don't know what's worse:

1. Sgt. Accardo was so uninformed that he didn't make sure his family was evacuated.

2. The NO government was so bad that its own plans for evacuation weren't given to public safety officers.

3. There was no provision for the helping public safety officers to get their families out of town while they worked.

4. This is a hoax story.

Well, I did a little search... (Below threshold)

Well, I did a little searching, and the answer is #4 HOAX!
Sgt. Accardo was a police spokesman, and killed himself over the horrible situation, and he did lose his house.
However, his family did not drown. This part of the story was embellished.

I am sorry this public servant felt he had to kill himself. This part of the story is indeed a tragegy, though a tragedy quite unlike the one offered in the Wizbang posting.

Please correct me if my searching was incomplete.

Nagin, after his disgracefu... (Below threshold)

Nagin, after his disgraceful performance as a first responder and subsequent criticism of those who had to come in to clean up after him and Katrina (and I am not sure which did the most damage) has the gall to ask FEMA to *pay* for all expense trips to VEgas. I do not think so.

If they need a break, fine. But this is not a legitimate cost for the federal government to bear. Imagine how strained the FEMA budget is already, and imagine not having enough money to take care of somebody else's natural disaster because Nagin sent people to VEgas.

I'm not sure where I am on ... (Below threshold)

I'm not sure where I am on the Las Vegas "vacation" theme. I just want to make sure that I clear up a misperception I've seen in several comments.

They NYFD was given vacations...to Hawaii.

Several theme parks and other vacation destinations have given deep discounts (or freebies) to our military forces over the past four years. Anheuser Busch parks have had free admission for at least the past two or three years.

That said...both the 911 heroes and the US Armed Forces deserve much, much more.


If I had to serve as a 'dep... (Below threshold)
Mike O'Neill:

If I had to serve as a 'department spokesman' under that cretinous mayor, I'd consider eating my gun too, just like the unfortunate Sgt. Accardo. How difficult must it have been to retain any personal honor after viewing the dismal performance of fellow officers, then having to listen to Mayor No-Noggin's nutcase blather? Rank speculation, I grant you. So sue me.

If the cops want some 'me' time in Atlanta, cool. Couple weeks off with pay? You bet. Nagin has a pair to demand that FEMA fund 'counselling in Vegas' after his cops took the first boat out of Dodge. Well, Mayor NumbNuts, if your cops deserve a paid vacation, what do relatives of the assaulted, the murdered and the raped in the Superdome merit? Or the parents of a pre-natal baby that didn't survive her N'Awlins hospital stay? (Hospitals which were, btw, under seige by roaming bands of going-cold-turkey looters fully aware that police were either a) absent, or b) overwhelmed, or c) competitors.)

Oh, wait, I know this one. They get an indefinite stay at (insert Arkansas military base name here).

An 89-year-old paraplegic lady pulled from a 2nd-story island in the French Quarter, husband dead, daughter missing -- hey, she might, just might, feel better if she played a couple keno tickets. Or she might want the bucks spent recovering, identifying and interring the remains of thousands of her fellow citizens.

Or something.

I just think that Vegas wil... (Below threshold)

I just think that Vegas will leave them more depressed. Seeing people throwing money away hand over fist, all the while these officers know they lost everything, is not going to relieve them of their stress.

If Vegas were smart, they would set up donation tables at the entrances to the casino, with signs that say "Donate part of your gambling money to Katrina victims" or rope off a section of slots with a sign saying "All profits on wagers will be donated by the casino to Katrina victims"... or something.

<a href="http://www.breitba... (Below threshold)

New Orleans Police Stunned by Suicides

According to the obituary in the Advocate of Baton Rouge, Accardo left a wife, Anne; his mother, Catherine; a brother; a sister; and eight nieces and nephews.

It looks as if he had taken the steps to evacuate his family.

I was all set to endorse th... (Below threshold)

I was all set to endorse the idea of the paid vacations, but as thought about it, and as I read this thread, I'm not so sure.

I AM sure that Vegas is not appropriate. If some of these guys need personal time (paid) to get affairs in order, fine. Counseling should be made available, and financial help, etc. But gambling junkets? No way.

While both NYPD and NOPD sh... (Below threshold)

While both NYPD and NOPD should be commended and considered courageous for their work during the most tragic of circumstances, there are a couple of major distinctions between the two:
* Police officers generally have the same duties and responsibilities, but the NOPD is one of the lowest paid departments in the country.
* The money being donated during Katrina's aftermath are earmarked for refugees and residents, while 90% of the fundraisers and donations following 9/11 were for the NYPD/NYFD officers, with little going to the innocent citizen victims.
*NYPD officers know that they lost co-workers at the Twin Towers. Many NOPD officers will never know what happened to their familiies.
*The NOPD officers did not put themselves in harm's way by refusing to evacuate. As first responders, they MUST remain on duty.

Does the fact that 9/11 was orchestrated by evil terrorists make that fateful day any more tragic for officers than the random results of nature's wrath?

Paul,An update is in... (Below threshold)

An update is in order here.
This officer killed himself, apparently, because of the poor performance of the department he had to be spokesman for. Again, correct me if I'm wrong here, but this is a totally different story than the one you posted.

Pretty pathetic comments he... (Below threshold)

Pretty pathetic comments here. Many way beyond the pale.

Not to mention some rather prolific mind reading such as..

"This officer killed himself, apparently, because of the poor performance of the department he had to be spokesman for."

Well hey! That should be apparant to anyone right?

But seriously, can you give me the winner to next weeks Bills Texans game?

I suggest that those who do... (Below threshold)

I suggest that those who do not know what kind of HELL that the New Orleans Police Department has been through over the past week go to http://www.nola.com and read. READ. These men have seen the destruction of their city, the drowning of close to 100 of their own when the levees broke on the East End, the loss of their homes, the loss of their families, these men have been victims of the biggest disaster to hit America since the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (which destroyed a city of 300,000 people), and you're going to begrudge them a little R&R?! What kind of inhuman ANIMAL can be so compassionless as to believe that men who have been through HELL should not get a break?!

As for the notion that the NOPD didn't get the job done, as if they're slackers or something, why don't YOU try to get the job done with no communications, running out of ammo, no backup, 80% of your resources underwater, no fuel for your police cruisers, outgunned by hundreds of gangsters armed with automatic weapons. You do that for six days straight with no rest other than catnaps here and there. You do that. Then, and *ONLY* then, do you have a right to comment on the job these men have done over the past week. Until then, I call bull****.

- Badtux the Irate Penguin.

Those who are quickest to c... (Below threshold)

Those who are quickest to criticize the New Orleans Police Department seem to think themselves better equipped to protect and serve. My guess is they are grossly unqualified to do anything but sit in front of a computer and complain.

Those men have spent eight days walking waist deep in a sea of sewage riddled with corpses for me and every member of my community.
They have not been afforded the luxury of sleep. Even if they had the chance to rest, chances are unbearable exhaustion probably couldn't chase away the horrorfic loss they have seen.

Furthermore, to condemn the whole department for the actions of few is utterly disdainful. I know there are men who either couldn't take it or left before the katrina came ashore, but a large group of officers being labled deserters are those who simply did not show up for work when called in. Consider the possibility that some of those "deserters" didn't show up for work because they too were trapped in an attic or now share a watery grave.
Do people really think that thier criticisms are helping anyone at this point? They are only demoralizing the men who have willingly absorbed the shock of this disaster. All in an effort to try to save our families lives and homes- commodoties they may no longer have.

Hey, Davebo.I wasn't... (Below threshold)

Hey, Davebo.
I wasn't speculating, I was quoting from what his boss thinks, in the link to the story of his suicide linked above my posting.
Please read it and tell me how I'm wrong here.

The people who were left in NO were there mainly because the Mayor didn't implement the evacuation plan, and what plan he did implement, started 24 hours later than it could have.

The buses to be used in the written plan would have made all the difference in the world, along with an agressive, early, definitive declaration to get out.

I can't take this. I am fro... (Below threshold)

I can't take this. I am from New Orleans. I am no longer there. I am headed back tomorrow to begin putting the city back together (I work for the mayor). Paul Accardo was my friend.

Anyone with the balls to say the NOPD performed abysmally deserves a swift smack in the head. This is an incredibly underfunded department that has been rife with corruption and grift. NO department ever has been asked to do what they did...some did better than others, but holding the city together (or as much as it could be with a force of 1200 to 1400 officers) while not knowing where your family is and knowing that your home and all of your earthly possessions are under 12 feet of water is something I doubt any of the people in this thread could do...including me.
This is not 9/11...there was still food, water, routes in and out, an IMMEDIATE military response, homes and stations to go back to...power, light, and a tangible enemy.

Paul was going through a divorce and I can only imagine seeing and dealing with what he did simply overwhelemed him...I always wondered if he had the temperment to be a cop. I hope he has found peace.

Finally....We will rebuild New Orleans better than ever and anyone who wants to snipe from afar at this situation can continue to do so, but please pucker up and prepare to kiss my rosy new orleans ass.

Here goes with the $%@# bus... (Below threshold)

Here goes with the $%@# buses again. Get this straight: THE MAYOR DID NOT HAVE THOSE FREAKIN' BUSES! FEMA DID! Yes, that's right, FEMA, the organization that can't shoot straight. The Orleans Parish School Board is *NOT* under the Mayors jurisdiction. The Mayor's office does NOT know where the bus yards are, or where the drivers for the buses live. FEMA knew, though, because the OPSB *TOLD THEM*.

I've probably lived through a half dozen hurricanes in Louisiana over the past 20 years (including one direct strike where the eyewall went over me which, thank god, was only a Category 1). In all of them FEMA came in, and coordinated the various resources. That's their job. Everybody registered their resources with FEMA, then their needs. Then FEMA matched up resources with needs, e.g. if the School Board says that it has 1200 buses, and Nagin says he needs 1200 buses, then FEMA tells the school board to send 1200 buses to Nagin and Nagin has his buses. It worked. It worked for every single one of those hurricanes. Until this one. When the process apparently completely broke down.

And the funny part of all this is that Nagin is a *REPUBLICAN*. He was a successful business executive, he was George W. Bush's campaign manager for the New Orleans area, he was a Republican for 20 years until his polling indicated he would get an extra 5% of the black vote if he switched to the Democratic Party. Which he did three weeks before the election (Louisiana elections are non-partisan so you can do that). But he was *STILL* George W. Bush's campaign manager in 2004, when he was supposedly "officially" a Democrat. All this stuff about "he's a Democrat, of course he's incompetent" is ludicrous... he's about as much a Democrat as George W. Bush.

Sorry about the ranting, I just get SO tired of seeing this kind of misinformation bandied about as fact. Nagin and Blanco should rightly be criticized for holding off on declaring the mandatory evacuation until it was too late to activate the final phase of the evacuation plan (the bus phase for those without cars). By the time the cars cleared the roads enough for buses to use them, the hurricane was almost upon New Orleans, meaning the buses would have been useless even if Nagin had known about them, which he didn't. But let's quit spinning and get real here. Sheesh.

Peter, my condolences on th... (Below threshold)
m neill:

Peter, my condolences on the loss of your friend. I certainly was not aware of an ongoing divorce, and would not diss anyone going thru both a hurricane and a personal hell.

The comments got a little off track from the original issue--paid Vegas vacations for NOPD. Some commenters believe this expediture to be poor PR, and terrible timing. Those comments don't involve Sgt. Accardo specifically, but the wisdom of the concept.

You concede the NOPD is underfunded and rife with corruption and graft. You go even further when discussing Sgt. Accardo, mentioning that you questioned his temperament to be a cop. But Peter, he was a police sergeant acting as a N'Awlins dept. spokesman for the very mayor you work for, not a line officer out in the flood. And his family apparantly was safe. How does that info relate to the paid-vacation point, pray tell?

How is it disrespectful to your friend when it's noted that a significant portion of NOPD just melted away? That officers participated actively in looting? That others abandoned their posts?

Of course they felt abandoned and outgunned. Of course they were asked to do a lot, maybe more than they should be expected to do. That's the point. You can't have it both ways. Either you man a post, or you bail. One option deserves praise and reward, the other does not.

Your point about 9/11 is well taken, but here's a larger picture for your consideration. Whatever the disaster--fire, flood, Mount St. Helens, earthquake, whatever--it's extremely unusual that 1/4 (or more?) of a city's police force would bug out. Peter, let's get real. That's not only rare, it may very well be unique. I will recant if shown an example that even approaches the scale of NOPD's adios to its citizens.

Smack me in the head if you must, but I don't feel warm and fuzzy about NO or FEMA bankrolling some blackjack rehab for your cops. Sorry. If you believe the performance of NOPD measures up to law enforcement during Camille, Ivan, or any number of other disasters, then the concept of right and wrong loses all meaning.

Why in the world would the ... (Below threshold)

Why in the world would the Orleans Parish School Board report to FEMA to perform an evacuation which was designed to be performed PRIOR to the storm hitting, according to the evacuation plan? Under the plan FEMA was supposed to come in three to four days AFTER the storm hit, which is exactly what they did. What about the 350 or so NO transit buses? Are you going to tell me that the mayor had no control over those as well?

Who was signatory to this plan? Who was supposed to implement it? Try reading it. Ray Nagin was the responsible officer. He failed.

And, by the way, BadTux, Yo... (Below threshold)

And, by the way, BadTux, You stateed:

"Nagin and Blanco should rightly be criticized for holding off on declaring the mandatory evacuation until it was too late to activate the final phase of the evacuation plan (the bus phase for those without cars)."

So we are in agreement here. Nagin is the responible party for the fact that tens of thousands of citizens remained in NO at the time the storm hit. All subsequent problems, including the deterioration of the police presence, and suicide of your friend, derive from this failure.

Never been much of a NOPD f... (Below threshold)

Never been much of a NOPD fan after growing up in the city - but I have to agree with you on that. The police officers (and firemen/EMTs) that remianed (not anywhere near the entire force) were for many days alone in trying to protect the city. They are men and women like everyone else. They have families and homes that they worry about. As it is they may end up having to retrieve the bodies of their family, friends, colleagues. Ask the firefighters and police in New York - they will likely have a good idea of what the police and firefighters/EMTs who stayed are going though.






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