However, tragedy rocked the New Orleans Police Department with
the cold blood killing of Officer Gregory Neupert in late 1980.
This senseless killing turned into the landmark case of the Algiers
7. PANO began and aggressive fund raising effort for the legal defense
of seven New Orleans Police Officers who were to stand trial in
Dallas, Texas, and Board members in New Orleans coordinated witnesses,
flying them in and out daily to testify for the best defense possible.
To everyone's disbelief, this month-long trial resulted in three
Officers convicted of Civil Rights violation serving five years
in the federal penitentiary.
Mardi Gras 1981, was the start of the first PANO Mardi Gras Canteen.
After years of standing on parade routes, sometimes cold, but always
fatigued, it was voted by the Executive Board to provide a service
on wheels to bring refreshments to officers waiting hours on the
route before the crowds and parades came.
Cannatella then took our fight to the citizens. It was because
Cannatella's belief that "When a man/woman puts on a police
uniform, it does not negate his God-given and Constitutionally guaranteed
human rights." He personally began a campaign to challenge
the Hatch Act, which forbid any City employees to support any political
candidates. In 1982, PANO began its campaign by forming its affiliate
"COPS", the Committee on Political Solutions. PANO's goal
started with public awareness of the problems within the police
department by way of leaflets, news ads, and advertisements.
In May 1982, a PANO Executive Board election was held. Cannatella
had an overwhelming victory. John Marie and Cindy Duke were reelected.
David Benelli was elected Second Vice President, with Carol Weigand
as Treasurer; Norman Taylor as Sergeant-at-Arms, with Norman McCord,
Stanley Burkhardt, and Lisa Dazzo as Trustees.
The Star and Crescent newspaper was replaced by the Force magazine,
a high quality well respected publication distributed throughout
the city. Ironically, in 1982, the first President's Message, Cannatella
spoke of the end of the Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration
grant, which afforded law enforcement officers to continue their
college education. Cannatella stressed then the importance of educated
and professional officers and the fact that the citizens should
demand nothing less.
On May 14, 1982, the PANO Simulation Training Award was given in
Recruit Class #81, with its first recipient - Recruit Harold Rich.
PANO was especially proud of the award as 1st Vice President David
Benelli was the driving force behind the entire simulation training
program at the Police Academy.
In 1983, the PANO office was relocated from a downtown office building
to the centrally located building in the Park Esplanade. This centrally
located office vastly improved accessibility to PANO's growing membership.
Vice President David Benelli, chaired the first PANO bullet proof
vest program in 1983. "Give a Cop a Ticket" to a safer
life program was responsible for providing police officers with
over one thousand bullet proof vests.
With the change in attitude towards law enforcement and national
scrutiny, particularly after the Dallas trial, police officers began
uniting to fight for police rights at a national level. On January
1, 1984, PANO affiliated with the National Association of Police
Organization (NAPO), an independent association representing just
about every major Police Organization in the Nation. Being the first
southern city to affiliate with NAPO, Cannatella was elected to
the National Board as an area Vice President.
PANO's vastly improved legal representation of its members by retaining
the services of Frank DeSalvo and Associates, a widely respected
legal firm throughout the city and state.
July of 1984, Cannatella established the first Board of Directors
through a department wide election. Members who served for that
year were: Elmon Randolph, Kathy Brown, Alex Gerhold, Lionel Keating,
Addie Fanguy, Fenner Sedgebeer, Pat Peyton, Darlene Kuhn, Robert
Canedo, John Rice, Joan Kalnit, Milton Bradford, Joyce Dunne, Joseph
Hebert, Sidney Biggs, John Johnston, and Arthur Perrot.
In September of 1984, PANO supported the proposed Civil Service
Pay Plan to alleviate the pay disparity between P/O I, II, III,
IV and Sergeants, Lieutenants, and Captains. However, this plan
never passed due to the old familiar sound of the City Council,
"for lack of funds."
PANO continued to grow more powerful. On November 15, 1984, PANO's
First Associate Membership program was underway. Insisting on the
importance of community involvement, PANO's Associate membership
has steadily grown over the years to its current strength of over
15,000 members. After working for PANO on the Force since 1982,
Rhonda McCord took the reins as the Force editor. Joanne Bergeron,
widow of Pete Bergeron, became Cannatella's Executive Assistant.
1984 also saw the completion of the first NOPD Commemorative Album
published by PANO since 1900.
In the summer of 1985, PANO finally witnessed then Governor Edwin
Edwards sign into law the Police Officers Bill of Rights. Forces
from across the state led by Cannatella and Bill Fields, President
of the Louisiana Union of Police, fought a five year battle to
guarantee police officers basic constitutional rights while under
1985 once again brought tragedy. Three Fifth District officers
stood trial for negligent homicide. PANO once again stood behind
the officers, both financially and morally, packing the courtroom
for the week long trial, with the best representation at no
cost to them. The officers were accused on negligent homicide
while subduing a violent prisoner who in their custody assaulted
and injured the officers. The prisoner was determined to have
ingested a large amount of cocaine and other drugs died in custody.
"Toxic Cocaine Syndrome" was ruled the cause of death
and the officers acquitted after a brilliant trial by PANO attorney
The yearly fight of state pay became a reality in 1986, the
first real threat of Police Supplemental Pay became a heated
issue in Baton Rouge. PANO and Police Organizations from across
the state demonstrated on the steps of the State's Capitol.
PANO's presence and lobbying efforts once again paid off. Supplemental
Pay was safe for another year.
On March 12, 1986, at a PANO General Membership meeting, PANO's
membership was opened to Reserve Officers by a unanimous vote.
In April of 1986, under the Dutch Morial Administration, the
police department took another step backwards by embracing the
Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA). A 40 hour work week was eliminated
and NOPD officers were now required to work a 28 day, 171 hour
work cycle before earning overtime. Cannatella held countless
meetings with the City Administration, Superintendent, and Civil
Service Commission and the national labor board to no avail.
FLSA became a reality. Legal action is still pending by the
Association regarding its unfair implementation.
Sidney Barthelemy was elected Mayor in January 1986 with PANO's
support, and a promise to recognize Police Officer's through
On June 1, 1986, a new Executive Board took Office. Ron Cannatella
continued as President, being unopposed; reelected was John
Marie, First-Vice President; David Benelli, Second-Vice President;
Cindy Burkhart, Recording Secretary; and Carol Weigand, Treasurer.
New Board members were Willie Davis, Sergeant-at Arms; and Glenn
On October 2, 1986, the first time in history, police and fire,
staged a standing room only unified demonstration at the City
Council to oppose a Civil Service rule change which enabled
the City to cut the benefits and work hours of its employees.
After this unified stand, the City chose to pass a 20% cut in
work for all City employees. Police Officers were cut to a 32
hour work week for eight week starting in October 1986-Merry
Christmas!! This act was immediately challenged in the courts
1987 greeted police with a 13.7% cut in state pay, with an
upcoming vote to cut an additional 20% in May of 1987. Needless
to say, with the 1986 four day work week and, the cut in state
pay job action was in the air.
However, during all of the controversy and cuts, Cannatella
through investigation found an extra $100,000 in mileage that
year, that created a supplemental mileage check.
With all the cuts, PANO began looking closely at several major
problems within the department including police pay and benefits.
This led to the discovery that under FLSA, police salaries were
based on 171 hours in 28 days. However, total police hours were
160. After meeting with then Superintendent Warren Woodfork,
Cannatella was able to present the facts, and hours were increased
to meet the 171 hours.
The financial rollercoaster continued! In a March meeting in
1987, a case started years before by the deceased Officer Donald
Allman , was finally coming to a close by his law firm. Attorney
Brad Roberts announced to its members that the long awaited
Supplemental/Overtime pay case had been victorious at the District
Court level and upheld by the State Supreme Court. Police Officers
overtime pay was not being calculated to included State Supplemental
Shortly after that, in 1987, the City of New Orleans entered
into a Consent Decree in response to a discrimination suit filed
by Larry Williams, et al. Although PANO was not directly involved,
PANO attorneys obtained limited intervention to assure that
both black and white, male and female officers were protected.
This consent decree truly effected the promotional system that
we are still abiding presently. Since the inception of this
decree, and PANO's intervention, more officers have been promoted
now, than in the years past. The courts now demand that the
police department keep current promotional registers and promote
with vacancies, with no quota.
The PANO Executive Board continued to meet with then Mayor
Sidney Barthelemy to open negotiations for a contract... And
In mid-1987, a substantial pay raise was included in the Civil
Service Commission Pay Plan. PANO had a total media blitz ...
bumper stickers, t-shirts, leaflets, phone calls, television
and radio blitz, with the slogan `Pay Police Like Your Life
Depends on It'. Citizens were called to wear a blue ribbon in
support of police, with overwhelming response. However, in late
1987, the City Council agreed with the plan, but once again,
the funds were not there.
By 1988, through total disgust, officers were screaming to
be recognized. After countless meetings, it was decided to boycott
the Annual Inspection, but attend the Annual Inspection Memorial
Mass in respect for brother officers killed in the line of duty.
On May 1, 1988, over 500 officers stood in full uniform, "shoulder
to shoulder on the steps of the Washington Artillery Park in
protest of the Administration. The slogan being then "If
you don't respect us, you can't inspect us".
By the summer of 1988, numerous informational pickets were
staged at City Hall in attempt to force the hand of Mayor Barthelemy
to collectively bargain and recognize police. In June, PANO's
Executive Board and members picketed the National Mayor's Conference
in Salt Lake City, Utah, where ironically, past Mayor "Dutch"
Morial participated in the picket against Mayor Barthelemy.
Sidney Barthelemy was a no show. The end result was a 48 hour
"sick out", that crippled the department, calling
in state police and national guard. PANO, the Fraternal Order
of Police (FOP) and the Black Organization of Police (BOP),
began meeting to show the Administration that police were together,
that it was not a black/white problem, but a "BLUE"
Much to our dismay, Mayor Barthelemy never recognized the police
in a bargaining contract. But because of PANO and only because
of PANO, members united, it was clear to the Administration
that police would not stand for anymore cuts!!!
Finally, in 1989, the Overtime Case was finalized with calculations
now at task! Ron Cannatella, Cindy Scanlan, Rhonda McCord, Fenner
Sedgebeer and Peggy White were ready to face the challenge.
After little was accomplished by the court appointed accounting
firm of Kirk Paciera, who spent an entire year auditing and
calculating each class members amount of overtime hours from
1976 through 1983, Judge Tom Early ordered the city to allow
PANO to finalize those calculations.
Ron Cannatella leading the PANO team were successful in locating
an additional $4 million for Police Officers. The $6.2 million
dollar case had now grown to $10.2 million dollars thanks to
PANO! The next step - finding the money! In 1992, through a
bond issue, the money was there. PANO finally saw a major case
end, issuing checks totaling anywhere from $100 to $30,000 to
it members and nonmembers.
As PANO entered into the 1990's the battles to represent the
legitimate interest for all police officers continues with unprecedented
aggressiveness. In May of 1994 Marc Morial, the son of the late
Ernest "Dutch" Morial was elected new Mayor for the
city of New Orleans. Marc, as did his father and Sidney Barthelemy
continues to refuse collective bargaining rights to police officers
while granting them to firefighters. The battle continues!
In 1994 the Police Association of New Orleans celebrated it's
25th year anniversary, of continuous service to the men and
women of the New Orleans Police Department. The event was celebrated
by the 1994 Executive Board presenting the Founding Fathers
and the past Executive Board with a plaque commemorating the
Whether on individual or class issue the Police Association
of New Orleans has faced every challenge. The amount of individual
and class litigation victories, recovered wages, promotions,
reversed suspensions, legislation, and success stories continue
to grow. The Police Association of New Orleans has truly lived
up to its motto of "Representing New Orleans Finest".
For the past twenty five years, through the ups and downs, through
the sad times and good, PANO has always been there ready to
face the challenges. The Police Association of New Orleans will
be the driving force that successfully takes the dedicated men
and women of the New Orleans Police Department into the twenty