Hurricane: Interesting timing given news by Tony Snow on his radio show that the FBI is looking into phantom cops on the NOPD's payroll. He was also going to head up a tribunal to punish almost 250 cops who deserted their posts.
NOPD Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned from his position at a 2 p.m. press conference Tuesday.
No details were given and no questions were answered including who would become the next superintendent.
Compass, in his announcement, said he had always wanted to be police chief and that he had led the city through some of its toughest times, including Hurricane Katrina.
“Everyone in a leadership position has to know when it’s time to step down,” he said.
Compass had come under some criticism in the press lately on charges that he had exaggerated the amount of death and crime at the Superdome and the Convention Center in the aftermath of Katrina.
He issued a stinging rebuke that questioned the police department’s unity in the hours after the city had finally been fully evacuated of displaced citizens. During that rebuke he called officers who had vacated their posts without reason “cowards.”
Compass also had two of his officers commit suicide in the storm’s aftermath.
“It’s a sad day when a hero like Eddie Compass makes a decision like this,” said Nagin.
Nagin added that Compass’ wife, who is eight months pregnant, is undoubtedly elated with the decision.
He compared Compass stepping down at a young age to former football star Jim Brown retiring at the height of his football career. |
I was thinking more of Ryan Leaf.
Some golden quotes.
|Neither Compass nor Mayor Ray Nagin would say whether Compass was pressured to resign.
"It's a sad day in the city of New Orleans when a hero makes a decision like this," Nagin said. "He leaves the department in pretty good shape and with a significant amount of leadership."
Lt. David Benelli, president of the union for rank-and-file New Orleans officers, said he was shocked by the resignation.
"We've been through a horrendous time," Benelli said. "We've watched the city we love be destroyed. That is pressure you can't believe."
Benelli would not criticize Compass.
"You can talk about lack of organization, but we have been through two hurricanes, there was no communications, problems everywhere," he said. "I think the fact that we did not lose control of the city is a testament to his leadership."
Earlier in the day, the department said that about 250 police officers — roughly 15 percent of the force — could face discipline for leaving their posts without permission during Katrina and its aftermath.
Each case will be investigated to determine whether the officer was truly a deserter or had legitimate reasons to be absent, Deputy Chief Warren Riley said.
"Everything will be done on a case-by-case basis. The worst thing we could do is take disciplinary action against someone who was stranded in the storm or whose child is missing," Riley said.
Sally Forman, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said it is not clear whether the deserters can be fired. She said the city is still looking into the civil service regulations. |