HURRICANE KATRINA NOPD SURVIVING THE FLOOD. Vytas Kapacinskas Will D’Avella. “During the Katrina days, we weren’t living in the real world, we were living in a holocaust.” Former police Lt. David Benelli. AGENDA. Preparing for the storm Establishing Command Posts Equipment
NOPD SURVIVING THE FLOOD
“During the Katrina days, we weren’t living in the real world, we were living in a holocaust.”
Former police Lt. David Benelli
-Dumas Carter, NOPD
-“We never had the tractor trailer command post, we never had the mobile home command post, nothing. And that remained like that for three or four weeks. Maybe even longer than that. Those command posts disappeared. We didn’t know where they were at. Okay. So, our command post was the trunk and the hood of the police cars. And, based off of that, we coordinated” –Timothy Bayard
A mobile command post housed in an eighteen-wheeler’s trailer and equipped with radios, generators, and emergency supplies, but somebody had moved it out of the city for protection from wind and flooding, and no one knew where it was.
Police resorted to commandeering boats and trucks in order to aid with the rescue effort.
Homeland Security restrictions on non terrorism-related funding, along with the department’s chronic under-funding, contributed to the lack of disaster response equipment and training available to the NOPD.
“Nothing. We had nothing. You know. And, you know -- and then I had somebody tell me, well, that -- that’s expensive to do that. Who is he to put a price on a person’s life? How many people died because we couldn’t do what needed to be done?”
– Timothy P. Bayard, CPT on Vice and Narcotics
“I forgot to do the -- the first thing that all commanders have to do. I forgot to sleep. And it was Saturday, and I didn’t know my name. I was dehydrated. I was -- as a matter of fact, I was diagnosed with dehydration, sleep deprivation, and exhausted.” –CPT John Bryson
Lack of planning by NOPD contrasts sharply with Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, where no police vehicles were rendered inoperable because they had been moved to higher ground.
“As an institution, though, the New Orleans Police Department disintegrated with the first drop of floodwater.” –Dan Baum The New Yorker
List of 27 recommendations for organizing emergency response in the city
Addresses equipment issues such as generators, food, water, breaching equipment, fuel and boats
His first point targets the Office of Emergency Preparedness
Ends with a question about what happened to the missing command center
Biggest Flaw: Failure to Communicate
1) Supplies enough to sustain life for seven to 10 days
3) Immediately available support from National Guard units
4) Vehicles appropriate for the situation, i.e., high-water vehicles and boats
5) Medical supplies,
6) Communication system shared by state, local and federal agencies
7) Training for emergency situations
8) Plan with primary and secondary staging areas identified and
9) Recruiting new officers to expand the size of the department.
11 shot, 5 police related fatalities
30,000+ people saved from their homes in the first few days by NOPD+co.
Only around 6,000 National Guard Troops arrived, 40,000 requested by Governor Blanco
(they are good natured)
“But the most amazing thing is that it’s made me a different person. A stronger person. And I think it’s made a lot more people realize that we spent all our time planning on how to prepare for these disasters . . . You can’t. It’s the response. It’s the response.”
CPT John Bryson
CDR 5th District NOPD