The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


    Veteran law enforcer plans to use experience to win sheriff run-off

    Reform, reconstruction and rehabilitation could be in the works for the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s office if the assistant superintendent for the New Orleans Police Department, Warren Riley, triumphs at the polls on Nov. 2. He will be running against City Council representative for District section D, Marlin Gusman; but is confident that his strategy for improving the sheriff’s office will impress voters.

    Riley has 23 years of experience with the police department and wants to take over as criminal sheriff. Since he has dealt with murderers, rapists, robbers and criminals, he believes that he understands criminal psyche. Riley received formal education in law enforcement at Delgado Community College where he earned a social arts degree in criminal justice, and then went on to Southern University at New Orleans where he earned a bachelors of science degree and masters of aArts degree in criminal justice.

    “The criminal sheriff’s office needs to be run by a law enforcement professional, not a career politician, who has no idea about law enforcement and it’s policing,” Riley said.

    Riley worked in 12 different divisions within the New Orleans Police Department, including narcotics, vice (the investigation of gambling and prostitution), and public integrity (the investigation of police corruption and conduct).

    The newly appointed criminal sheriff would be in charge of the Orleans Parish prison, which is one of the largest prisons in the United States that processes over 90,000 inmates per year. The criminal sheriff is in charge of the safety, medical care and feeding of the inmates in the prison, but according to Riley, he has plans to do much more than that.

    Rehabilitation of inmates is Nno. 1 on Riley’s agenda. He plans to create a vocational and learning skills center on the grounds of the prison. The average inmate stays in Orleans Parish Prison for 2 ½ to five5 years, according to Riley. So every inmate who does not have a high school diploma or G.E.D would receive the opportunity to receive a G.E.D during his or her final two years of incarceration. Inmates who do have a high school diploma or G.E.D. would receive an opportunity to earn an associate degree during his or her last two years of incarceration.

    “For the learning skills centers, we will partner with local universities to set up the associates of arts program,” Riley said.

    Developing a vocational program is also on Riley’s agenda, which would give inmates who are serving their last two years of incarceration, a chance to spend a portion of their day learning labor-type job skills. Such skills include laying tiles and flooring, working construction and repairing air-conditioners.

    “Both of these programs will allow inmates to leave prison better educated and with a job skill that will allow them to make a decent living,” Riley said.

    Education and jobs skills would not be the only things offered to inmates. Riley plans to have a counseling staff at the prison, which would be comprised of ministers, educators and social workers, to counsel inmates prior to getting out of jail. “Inmates will be counseled on personal issues, expectations of society, how to conduct yourself in society and what to expect when re-entering society,” Riley said.

    Post Offenders Assistance, an after-care program, would be established to give ex-inmates further attention. With this program ex-inmates would have the opportunity to visit this office to receive help if they cannot find a job, have no family or home, or just need guidance. “We want inmates to come back to us for assistance,” Riley said. “We want this office to be an alternative to robbing an innocent citizen and turning backto crime.”

    The program would assist them in finding homes, jobs or even meals. According to Riley, the primary focus is to give every ex-offender an option. And this program would have a 24-hour hotline so that inmates can contact a counselor whenever they need to. Riley said that he knows that not every inmate will reform, but he believes that the Post Offenders Assistance program will help stop some ex-inmates from committing more crimes.

    “Currently, 41 percent of all inmates who leave Orleans Parish Prison return to jail within a year,” Riley said. “We want to reduce that number by at least 25 percent.”

    Riley even has plans to partner with labor unions to ensure job placement.

    The last part of Riley’s plan is to put 200 well-trained deputies on the streets of New Orleans to work hard and hand-in-hand with the NOPD. Citizens will have more protection and quicker response to calls for service, according to Riley. Putting sheriff’s deputies on the street is not a new idea. “Jefferson, St. Tammany, and St. Bernard parishes have sheriffs on the streets, only New Orleans hasn’t had sheriffs on the streets for 40 years,” Riley said.

    The deputies would receive eight weeks of additional training in the New Orleans Police Academy learning NOPD polices and procedures. The deputies would also receive training in driving tactics, street survival tactics and domestic violence. Then, the deputies would ride with an NOPD officer for another eight weeks before being certified to work as police officers, while still remaining sheriff deputies.

    Riley has noticed many things that need to be changed within the Orleans Parish prison. He wants to clean it up, literally. “I want to change the overall environmental conditions of the prison. The prison is filthy, and personnel are not being allocated effectively,” Riley said.

    Riley believes the sheriff’s office has been run as a jail when it should be run as a law enforcement agency. “The sheriff’s office has never been proactive, they have never directly assisted in crime fighting efforts,” Riley said.

    Riley is backed by Mayor C. Ray Nagin, District Attorney Eddie Jordan, Councilman-at-large Oliver Thomas, State Sen. Ann Duplessis, State Sen. John Hankel, State Rep. Karen Carter, State Rep. Cheryl Gray, State Rep. Emile “Peppi” Bruneau, the Police Organization of New Orleans, Fraternal Order of Police, Black Organization for Leadership Department, Women in Politics, W.O.M.E.N., Inc., Women for Good Government, Concerned Leadership Organization for Unity and Tenacity and The Ministerial Alliance.

    Whether Riley’s plans to make the criminal sheriff office more professional and comprehensive will come to past, many will have to wait until after the run-off. But the single father reminds society that, “This isn’t just about inmates, it’s really about the good, quality citizens. I believe that if we give these ex-offenders educational opportunities, job skills and hope, it will prevent them from perpetrating more senseless crimes.”

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    Veteran law enforcer plans to use experience to win sheriff run-off