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Sunday, September 04, 2005
  NOLA's 'finest'. Contrast that with NY's first responders durning 9/11
Law Officers, Overwhelmed, Are Quitting the Force - New York Times: "NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 3 - Reeling from the chaos of this overwhelmed city, at least 200 New Orleans police officers have walked away from their jobs and two have committed suicide, police officials said on Saturday.

Some officers told their superiors they were leaving, police officials said. Others worked for a while and then stopped showing up. Still others, for reasons not always clear, never made it in after the storm.

The absences come during a period of extraordinary stress for the New Orleans Police Department. For nearly a week, many of its 1,500 members have had to work around the clock, trying to cope with flooding, an overwhelming crush of refugees, looters and occasional snipers.

P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police, said most of his officers were staying at their posts. But in an unusual note of sympathy for a top police official, he said it was understandable that many were frustrated. He said morale was 'not very good.'

'If I put you out on the street and made you get into gun battles all day with no place to urinate and no place to defecate, I don't think you would be too happy either,' Mr. Compass said in an interview. 'Our vehicles can't get any gas. The water in the street is contaminated. My officers are walking around in wet shoes.'

Fire Department officials said they did not know of any firefighters who had quit. But they, too, were sympathetic to struggling emergency workers.

W. J. Riley, the assistant superintendent of police, said there were about 1,200 officers on duty on Saturday. He said the department was not sure how many officers had decided to abandon their posts and how many simply could not get to work."
 
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