New Orleans Police Fire 51 for Desertion

The New Orleans Police Department has fired 51 officers who abandoned their posts prior to Hurricane Katrina and is investigating 240 others.

Print Story: New Orleans Police Fire 51 for Desertion (AP)

Fifty-one members of the New Orleans Police Department — 45 officers and six civilian employees — were fired Friday for abandoning their posts before or after Hurricane Katrina. “They were terminated due to them abandoning the department prior to the storm,” acting superintendent Warren Riley said. “They either left before the hurricane or 10 to 12 days after the storm and we have never heard from them.”

Police were unable to account for 240 officers on the 1,450-member force following Katrina. The force has been investigating them to see if they left their posts during the storm.

The mass firing was the first action taken against the missing officers. Another 15 officers resigned when placed under investigation for abandonment.

“This isn’t representative of our department,” Riley said. “We had a lot of heroes that stepped up after the storm.” Another 45 officers resigned from the force after the Aug. 29 storm. The resignations were for personal reasons ranging from relocation to new employment, Riley said.

This was an obvious move. There is no way these men could be trusted after their acts of cowardice; certainly, no other officer should be forced to put their lives in their hands. Of course, this may be academic since there is no mention of the deserters coming back for their old jobs.

Related: Katrina: Governor Orders Troops to Shoot and Kill Looters

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ralph says:

    45 officers and six civilian employees missing, “and we have never heard from them.” All those final pay checks — and not one wife stopping by for “mad money?” Hmm.

    Is it known if any of them are alive or dead? Pretty cold to fire some guy who might otherwise be eligible for a funeral.

    Is it known that these were not just names carried on the books — for whatever rea$on?

    Seems we should want to get to the bottom of things like this before flooding the area with the sky-high relief funding the Louisiana kleptocracy officialdom was so gracelessly demanding a couple of weeks ago.

  2. Ralph says:

    The above should read “…the Louisiana kleptocracy officialdom….” [It did in the preview.]