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Companies pledge to reform NOPD as consent decree monitor

29th October 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Tom Gogola
http://thelensnola.org

Seven companies from around the country want the multi­million-dollar job of overseeing the New Orleans Police Department’s implementation of a federal consent decree.

The seven bids range from about $7 million to $12 million.

The City Attorney’s office opened the proposals up to the public this week. They’re being reviewed by a team split equally between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Most of the bidders made sure to point out their local connections, and all pledge to bring the police department into compliance with a sprawling con­sent decree that touches on every aspect of policing in New Or­leans.

The bids were submitted by Vigilant Resources International; Elite Performance Assessment Consultants; Guidepost Solutions; BDO Solutions/Fulbright and Jaworski; Pugh, Jones & Johnson; KeyPoint Government Solutions; and Hillard Heintze.

The “consent decree court monitor” sounds like one person, but each of the proposals offers a complement of staff with expertise in fields such as law enforcement, forensic accounting, and consulting.

The proposals are filled with for­mer prosecutors, Secret Service and FBI agents, police chiefs, immigration officials, civil rights lawyers and others with extensive backgrounds in criminal justice.

The city and Department of Justice’s request for proposals lays out 20 expansive responsibilities of the consent decree court monitor. The RFP also requires that any would-be bidder satisfy “disadvantaged business enterprise” requirements in the proposal by allotting 35 percent of its contract or subcontract dollars to a certified, minority-run organization.

The bidders were also asked to provide bilingual staff to assist in implementing the unbiased-policing portion of the consent decree.

Hillard Heintze, $7.2 million

Chicago-based Hillard Heintze offers “strategic security” and investigative services and is headed by Arnette Heintze and Terry Hillard.

Heintze is a former Secret Service agent who is originally from Baton Rouge. Hillard was police superintendent in Chicago in the late 1990s and briefly again in 2011.

Other proposed team members include a civil rights attorney and two former chiefs of police.

The proposal emphasizes community engagement.

“Given the language of the constitution and our founding principles, it isn’t possible to establish a sustainable approach to law enforcement reform without extensive engagement and participation” from various communities comprising the fabric of New Orleans civic life, it says.

Tulane University criminal justice professor Peter Scharf is hooked up with this proposal as one of several proposed “strategic advisors.”

Hillard Heintze’s bid is the lowest of the group.

Pugh, Jones & Johnson, $8.3 million

Pugh, Jones & Johnson, also based in Chicago, describes itself in its proposal as a certified minority law firm.

It would engage Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute as its disadvantaged-business subcontractors. Deloitte has an office on Poydras Street downtown.

The law firm’s proposal notes that it has pursued a number of lawsuits against rogue police departments around the country, including a number of use-of-force cases.

The firm’s 21-person monitoring team is peppered with former assistant district attorneys, FBI agents and other former government officials. The proposal says it would use a running “report card” to give an “up-to-date assessment of the parts of the consent decree the monitor finds the police department is complying with, and where it’s not.”

Its four-phase plan would begin with a top-to-bottom review of policing practices. The firm pledges to schedule and publicize public forums throughout the four-year contract period.

Vigilant Resources International, $8.7 million

Vigilant Resources Interna­tional is run by Howard Safir, a former New York City police and fire chief.

Safir says in the proposal that he has formed a close partnership with the Urban League of Greater New Orleans to help the department meet the challenge of reforming itself.

Safir noted that “this partnership is unique in the history of police monitorships and affords the city and New Orleans Police Depart­ment the unparalleled opportunity to meet the letter and spirit of the consent decree.”

The Urban League’s Nolan Rollins would be responsible for community engagement and program development, according to the proposal.

This proposal is highly detailed, down to Safir’s precise estimate of how much time he’ll spend in New Orleans: “68 percent of his budgeted project time.”

Safir would field an 18-member team, seven of whom would live or already live in New Orleans. The remaining 11, the proposal says, will make a lot of trips to New Orleans over the four years.

The company would rely on legal services from the local firm of Jones Walker.

Key­Point Government Solutions, $7.55 million

In its proposal, Key­Point Government Solutions highlighted its monitoring assignments in Los Angeles — a $15 million job that was completed in 2009 — and Detroit.

“The same team members who worked on LAPD and Detroit would be available for the NOPD,” the proposal says.

The consent decrees in Los Angeles and Detroit emphasized use-of-force issues and unbiased policing and enforcement – two major areas of concern in the New Orleans Police Department consent decree.

Key­Point is based in Loveland, Colo., and has offices around the coun­try. President and CEO Jef­frey Schlanger is based in New York and would head up the 12-person Key­Point team for New Orleans.

Key­Point is proposing New Orleanian Jimmy S. Fox III as a deputy police monitor.

Fox was a locally-based agent in the Drug Enforcement Agency and now sits on the board of trustees at the New Orleans YMCA and the New Orleans Red Cross. In 2012 he formed Fox Security, a consulting firm that is also Key­Point’s disadvantaged-business hire.

Fox would step down from his twin trusteeships if Key­Point were to win the contract, the proposal says.

Key­Point of­fered an ag­gre­gate bid of $7.55 million over four years, but didn’t include travel expenses in the estimate. It pledged to cap its fee at $9 mil­lion.

Elite Performance Assessment Consultants, $8.9 million

Elite Performance Assessment Consultants, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., identified nine people on its proposed team, including lawyers, investigators, former police officers and a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. An additional dozen staff haven’t been hired or weren’t identified in the company’s proposal.

Elite Performance’s proposal puts a lot of emphasis on information technology and audits and doesn’t come with any local connections.

The company “will establish lines of communications with the appropriate mem­bers of the city of New Orleans, and the New Orleans Police Department,” the pro­posal says. It also plans to “identify key personnel at NOPD whom we will coordinate our monitoring activities,” and says it will set up a New Orleans satellite office.

The California concern would charge the city $2.9 million for its services in the first year, and about $2 million annually after that.

BDO Consulting, $9.5 million

BDO Consulting offered a proposal in conjunction with the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski; both are based in Houston.

Their proposal would name Don DeGabrielle from the law firm as the lead court monitor; De­Gabrielle is a former federal prosecutor and FBI field agent based in New Orleans in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

The BDO proposal says it would hire an as-yet-unnamed, fulltime project man­ager to be based in New Or­leans. “The individual we have selected has requested that we not identify him specifically at this time,” the proposal says.

The BDO proposal digs into the thorny use-of-force issues that have bedeviled the New Orleans Police Department for decades.

It notes that officers may violate use-of-force restrictions in encounters that don’t result in an arrest or police report.

The pro­posal suggests that social media might ferret out such wrong­doing.

“This is a shadowy and unjustifiable use of force, and an area very difficult to track,” says the BDO proposal. “This [court monitor] would leverage the use of social media to publicize its activities in this area and encourage New Orleans citizens to record, report and document use of force incidents … with social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.”

BDO also says it would implement a monthly “Decree­Stat” meeting, with participation by police commanders, the Depart­ment of Justice, the Public Integrity Bureau and the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, “where district and unit commanders in the NOPD will be held accountable for the use of force by their officers.”

Guidepost Solutions, $12 mil­lion

Guidepost Solution’s proposal is the most expensive bid in the batch.

It also stood out because it says the court monitor shouldn’t use government office space.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the city of New Orleans is to provide physical space for the court monitor. But Guidepost says that’s a bad idea.

“Because of potential conflicts that exist between the New Orleans Police Department and the monitor, the office space should not be on public property,” the Guidepost proposal says. “To be the fully neutral party providing completely objective analysis and reports, the monitor must have total operational independence.”

The Guidepost proposal identifies the Memphis-based company Gautreaux Enterprises as its disadvantaged business; it would provide administrative services in the form of data­base supervision and office and record management. It would also serve as the “point of contact” for the monitor and would contract with language interpreters to fulfill the bilingual requirement.

The proposal identifies Kenneth Citarella as the top monitor; the New York-based Citarella would be in New Orleans “as often as the work requires.”

Guidepost says its strength lies in the fact that members of its team have worked to develop the “CompStat” police-accountability model in use in police departments around the country, including New Orleans. CompStat uses data-crunching and crime-mapping to come up with more efficient and effective policing strategies.

Guidepost proposes an “interdisciplinary approach for all aspects of monitorship,” and though it has not identified its field investigation personnel, the proposal notes that “all candidates are retired law enforcement agents who were formerly active in New Or­leans and who have extensive experience working with, and often training, the New Orleans Police Depart­ment.”

This article originally published in the October 29, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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