In response to the report, the New Orleans Police Department said the five detectives, who were not named, had been transferred out of the special victims section. A task force was appointed to conduct a full review of all cases handled by these detectives during their time, the police said.
“There is no place for this type of behavior in our department,” Michael Harrison, the police superintendent, said in a statement. “I am committed to getting this right and continuing to work to rebuild the trust between our officers and our community.”
The police department also said its public integrity bureau is launching an investigation into each of the detectives cited in the report.
Investigators looked at 1,290 calls related to sex crimes that were assigned to the five detectives between 2011 and 2013. The five detectives only wrote 179 reports suggesting additional investigation beyond the first report, which covered just 14 percent of the total calls these detectives were assigned.
The report includes a series of troubling missteps that covered a variety of crimes. In one case, an infant taken to the emergency room with a skull fracture was found to have an old skull fracture as well. The child’s mother changed her story multiple times, the report says, but the detective determined there was no criminal action needed and closed the report. In another situation included in the report, after an infant was taken to the hospital with a skull fracture that a nurse determined may not have been accidental, the same detective conducted no investigation.
A different detective also reported that no results were found during an examination of a woman who said she was sexually assaulted, but it turned out the rape kit was never submitted to state police laboratory.
Supervisors in the police force were harshly criticized in the report for failing to notice the improprieties. In response, Harrison said the leadership at the special victims section has been replaced. In addition, detectives investigating sex crimes will now have more oversight from their supervisors while they are looking into these reports, the police department said.
This police department has come under fire before, with the Justice Department concluding in 2011 that the department routinely violated constitutional rights and discriminated based on gender, sexuality or race.
The latest investigation into the five detectives was launched after the inspector general’s office released a report in May outlining major problems with the way rapes were classified by the New Orleans Police Department. That inquiry found that the police incorrectly classified rapes as other offenses, which the inspector general’s office said raised concerns about the way investigations are documented.