After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the police department found it’s approval in the mid-30’s. With the widespread collapse of confidence in City institutions, the Department needed to take fast action to regain the trust of citizens across the entire city.
Our solution was two-phased: staunch the bleeding and heal the wound. Working with local academics, we identified the critical issues causing the breakdown of trust with the community, as well as the issues that truly drove community impressions of the Department. Institutional change takes time, however, and we followed up the initial research with semi-annual tracking studies, allowing the department to shut down press-hungry agitators with unbiased facts as well as shift their internal focus towards current citizen priorities.
This approach was used for almost a decade in the city, regaining public trust, and positioning the Department in the mid-70’s in approval. The Department regained its reputation as a force for good and a pillar of the community, a reputation still enjoyed today.