Skip to comments.Disintegration of New Orleans police slowed response: guard commander
Posted on 09/04/2005 12:45:08 AM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
The National Guard was slow to move troops into New Orleans because it did not anticipate the collapse of the city's police force after Hurricane Katrina, the guard's commander said.
Lieutenant General Steven Blum said the New Orleans police force was left with only a third of its pre-storm 1,500-person strength.
Some police had families caught up in the disaster, others were unable to make it back to their precincts because of the flooding, and yet others left their posts after deciding the situation had grown too dangerous.
"The real issue, particularly in New Orleans, is that no one anticipated the disintegration or the erosion of the civilian police force in New Orleans," Blum told reporters here.
"Once that assessment was made ... then the requirement became obvious," he said. "And that's when we started flowing military police into the theater."
On Friday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin angrily denounced the slow federal response as too little, too late, charging that promised troops had not arrived in time.
"Now get off your asses and let's do something and fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country," the mayor said in remarks aired on CNN.
Blum said that since Thursday some 7,000 National Guard and military police had moved into the city.
But he said any suggestion that the National Guard had not performed well or was late was a "low blow."
The initial priority of the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard forces was disaster relief, not law enforcement, because they expected the police to handle that, he said.
"We were pulsing forces in in very degraded infrastructure -- airports had reduced capabilities ... in some cases we only had one road in because of lack of bridges, flooding, loss of infrastructure," he said.
"So we couldn't rush to failure on this thing and we had to take a more measured approach on this thing than any of us wanted," he said.
When it became apparent that disorder in New Orleans should be the most immediate priority, the National Guard waited until they had enough forces in hand to make an overwhelming show of force, he said.
On Friday, while President George W. Bush was touring the stricken city, 1,000 military police and National Guard stormed the convention center where street gangs mixed in with thousands of others awaiting rescue had created a volatile situation, Blum said.
"Had we gone in with a lesser force we may have been challenged, innocents may have been caught in a fight between the guard and military police and those who did not want to be processed or apprehended," he said.
Bush, under intense criticism for the slow federal response, on Saturday ordered an additional 7,000 active duty and reserve ground troops to reinforce the National Guard.
That would raise the level of US military forces committed to the relief effort -- active duty as well as national guard and reserves -- to more than 50,000 by the end of next week.
Blum said that on Saturday there were 27,000 national guard troops in Louisiana and Mississippi. That number will grow to about 40,000 within the next week, he said.
There were varying estimates of the number of active duty troops already in the area as part of the relief of operations before Bush's order.
Major General Joseph Inge, deputy commander of the US Northern Command, put the number of active duty forces already on the ground at nearly 5,000 while Blum estimated the active force at 7,000, including sailors aboard navy ships.
The additional troops ordered in from the active force include 2,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, 2,700 from the 1st Cavalry Division and 2,000 from the 1st and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Forces.
I posted this news story about 10 minutes ago, but for some reason, the FR website manager locked the thread. I just reposted the story because this news is extremely important. It explains why the situation in New Orleans deteriorated so quickly. The first responders were AWOL!
Now FR has pulled the thread entirely. What's with this censorship?! It stinks.
Un-be-lieveable. Just freaking unbelieveable.
Was there anything that went right with this city?
The reason it was pulled is that the title does not match the story at the site. We can't find duplicates when articles are posted that way.
Your threads were all pulled because you created your own title, the content did not match the published article and the link matched neither the title nor the content.
What are the penalties for law enforcement officers who abandon their duties during a situation like this?
Don't think for a moment that W is gonna take a beating without fighting back. They are gonna roast the mayor and the gov.
So you're telling me that in order to post an important news story on FR, one has to use the same headline as a biased French news service?!? The title of my thread accurately reflected the content of the story which is that two-thirds of New Orleans' police officers have gone missing.
If you have some especially apt brief comment you can put it in parenthesis after the original title, but you gotta post the original title
I believe that your previous thread has been unlocked. Sidebar Moderator may have been a bit too quick on the trigger finger on it and reconsidered. It's understandable; there's a lot going on right now.
The Mayor should have gotten off his bleep and done something
You have to feel important now. You got responses from two different mods.
Riley went on: "We have been fired on with automatic weapons. We still have some thugs around. My biggest disappointment is with the federal government and the National Guard.
"The guard arrived 48 hours after the hurricane with 40 trucks. They drove their trucks in and went to sleep.
"For 72 hours this police department and the fire department and handful of citizens were alone rescuing people. We have people who died while the National Guard sat and played cards. I understand why we are not winning the war in Iraq if this is what we have."
I am not amused by New Orleans deputy police commander Riley's comments.
Its now a fact, to the media, that the federal response was slow.
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