New Orleans Police Chief: 'Rats Are Eating Our Marijuana'

Department to relocate from rodent-infested building lacking air conditioning, elevators
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2024 6:34 AM CDT
New Orleans Police Chief: 'Rats Are Eating Our Marijuana'
Anne Kirkpatrick speaks during a news conference after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, back left, announced Kirkpatrick as her nominee to head the New Orleans Police Department, Sept. 11, 2023, in New Orleans.   (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP, File)/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

New Orleans' police chief pleaded for a new building to serve as police headquarters on Monday, summing up her case in just two sentences. "The rats are eating our marijuana. They're all high," Anne Kirkpatrick testified during a meeting of the city's criminal justice committee, eliciting chuckles of laughter from numerous reporters.

  • The issue: Kirkpatrick said rats are eating evidence from the evidence room and pooping on employees' desks, per CBS News. She also described encounters with cockroaches in the headquarters building, built in 1968, which lacks functional air-conditioning and elevators.

  • The argument: "When we say we value our employees, you can't say that, and at the same time allow people to work in conditions that are not acceptable," Kirkpatrick told the committee, per WWL. "It's going to impact morale, so that has been a big factor." She also noted rats eating evidence could affect criminal cases, per the Guardian.
  • The solution: City Council members voted Monday to approve a 10-year lease for two upper floors of a downtown office building across from the Caesars Superdome to be used by police at a cost of $670,000 per year, per WWL and the Guardian. Officials said that was cheaper than the $30 million cost to spruce up the current headquarters. Kirkpatrick compared efforts to fix the building to "trying to throw money at a bottomless pit."
(More New Orleans stories.)

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