Criminal Justice

Sheriff's Office wants to hire outside manager for paid details

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman confirmed Friday that he is working to outsource the management of the lucrative off-duty private security details available to his deputies.

In a written statement, Gusman said that “the Sheriff’s Office is reviewing a plan that involves a third party to assist with the handling of detail assignments,” but nothing has been decided.

Gusman said that his office is “working to update many of our policies and reporting rules to increase the efficiency and accountability of the paid detail program.”

Gusman has been working to improve his much-maligned detail program since September.

In August, The Lens published an investigation into Gusman’s detail fund that found a number of similarities between Gusman’s program and the one at the New Orleans Police Department.

A 2011 U.S. Department of Justice report on the New Orleans Police Department famously characterized the detail program as an “aorta of corruption.”

Sheriff’s deputies who work these moonlighting shifts are paid significantly more per-hour than they do at their regular shift – $25 to $30 an hour for standing guard at such local businesses as Harrah’s and Walgreens. Deputies working at Orleans Parish Prison typically earn less than $10 an hour, though the job does come with benefits.

“Each deputy’s success in working details will rely on their performance on the job at our jail facilities,” Gusman said, “and while working in the community.”

Gusman also took pains to assure his staff that the new proposed third-party- system would be open to all staff members at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“All OPSO deputies, who are in good standing, will continue to be able to work details within the guidelines established by the Sheriff’s Office,” Gusman said, adding that his recent slashing of deputies’ overtime hours will “allow greater flexibility in deputies working details, as we shifted our full-time work schedule to the Louisiana State Police model.”

Gusman said his goal for the change being considered is to create “a detail system that will be easier for citizens and businesses to utilize in reserving the services of our deputies.”

“We will establish a program that places an emphasis on the highest level of transparency and accountability, combined with customer service that will enlist even greater confidence among citizens and businesses working with our deputies.”

The Gusman announcement comes barely a week after New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a similar shakeup  in the New Orleans Police Department detail program.

Landrieu hired former Army Lt. Col. John Salomone to manage the police detail system out of City Hall for about $117,000 a year, as reported by our colleagues at Fox8. The Fox8 report featured an on-camera interview with Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin, who asserted that the city was bringing the city in line with the best practices of departments elsewhere.

Gusman didn’t say whether the Landrieu move prompted him to shift toward a possible third-party manager of his own program.

“We continue to analyze other law enforcement agencies nationwide to learn new ways to improve our operations,” said Gusman in his statement, issued through the public relations company the Ehrhardt Group.


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About Tom Gogola

Tom Gogola covered criminal justice for The Lens from February 2012 to May 2013. He is a veteran journalist and editor who has written on a range of subjects for many publications, including Newsday, New York, The Nation, and Maxim. Gogola was a 2011 winner of the Hillman Foundation Sidney Award, for his groundbreaking report in New York magazine detailing regulatory waste in the commercial fishing industry.

  • Another contract for Gusman and his friends to feed at the trough like his fat drinking buddy Jiff Hingle!!!!

  • OPSO Deputy

    Ask Gusman where the $826,00.00 in FEMA money that he received for the new jail construction that was paid to DRC but somehow got put in the Sheriffs departments general fund account just before the last election. Also ask Gusman why he just hired four retired NOPD officers for a total annual pay of over $175,000 but has to cut deputies hours to balance the budget. Ask Gusman who is now watching the inmates that the administrative staff was watching one day a pay period in the jails now that those employees are on furlough that day!!!

  • rickbrah

    how timely.

    outside of my place of employment today there was a dude with an opso uniform parked in his personal car all day on a detail watching some poor schlub move into the apt/complex across the street.

    people move in and out of this complex all the time but somehow these marks got the memo that they needed a paid detail to do the same.

    so dude was out there all day in his personal vehicle with red and blue lights flashing thru the top of his windshield.

    the trip part for me is that when i work a split between the day shift and night shift the crew change flips the script of the whole vibe of the kitchen.

    i usually take a sanity break on the side walk to have a smoke and get away from the hard change of personalities.

    once the night crew settles in and starts figuring out their mis for the night it get’s back to normal. but that first hour of day and night crew is pure chaos.

    so any way to make a short story long , the ops dude has his jams kicked up to 11 while i’m trying to take my sanity break.

    i’m thinking to my self , i know that song but i cant figure out what it is.

    turns out it was a live version of cocaine by clapton. dude was rockin out.

    it was dudes personal car and he can listen to what ever he wants , but as my boss once told me “i could give a rats ass what you do on your own time , just don’t be wearing my gear when you do it.

    cocaine blasting from your car on a paid detail = not cool

    me cursing out a tshirt shop owner for parking in the middle of the street to unload her van while im late for work and there is a freight zone 20 feet ahead while wearing my bosses gear = not cool.

  • I. M.

    Such abhorrent behavior is indicative of the lack of standards (ethical, moral, professional and otherwise), that has, does and continues to plague OPSO. As long as Marlin “Pseudo Sheriff” Gusman is at the helm, this ship is doomed to sink.