Monday, September 05, 2005


From CNN:
There may be no better way to explain the desperation on the city's ravaged streets than this: In the past few days, two police officers took their own lives and dozens have turned in their badges.

New Orleans Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley on Sunday identified two officers who committed suicide as Sgt. Paul Accardo, the department's spokesman, and Patrolman Lawrence Celestine. He called both "outstanding cops" and friends.

"Both of them," he said, shaking his head slowly. "Used their own guns."

Several dozen of the city's 1,600 police officers have failed to report for duty, and some have turned in their badges.

Published reports put the number as high as 200, but Riley declined to comment on those figures, saying more than 100 officers may have been trapped in their own homes or unable to reach command centers.

"We just don't know," he said, standing outside a downtown command center set up in the driveway of Harrah's casino. ***

"The most stressing part is seeing the citizens we serve every day being treated like refugees," Riley said. "There were cops walking through the crowd at the convention center and people were coming up to beg for food. Not being able to help is a difficult thing. People were calling our names because we know them and to not be able to help, man, that's stressful."
Let us all hope that, when the immediate crisis in New Orleans is over, these brave men and women will get the appreciation -- and help -- they deserve.

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