Who Dat Dish caught up with current NOPD Det. Darrell Doucette, who decided to “DISH” to us on his love of the Saints, his upcoming retirement, and his role in the episode entitled “Heartless”, in A&E’s, “First 48” production (which has since been canceled) in New Orleans. Det. Doucette was an officer for nine years, and has been a det. with NOPD for the last 16.
WDD: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. How have you been since the airing of your episode, “Heartless” on First 48?
Darrell Doucette: Well, all has been well, but I have to tell you that about an hour and a half ago, I just signed my retirement papers.
WDD: You’ve got to be kidding us!
DD: No, my official retirement date is March 31st.
WDD: Man, you’re calling it a day?
DD: Yes sir, I’m hanging it up… hanging it up!
WDD: Wow! That being said, how long have you been a New Orleans Saints fan?
DD: I have been a Saints fan since I was four years old, when I first realized that they were our home team. Yes sir!
WDD: For at least as long as you can recall and for the duration of your particular career, can you describe what the relationship between the Saints and NOPD has been like?
DD: The work relationship between the two organizations has been wonderful. As a matter of fact many of the staff, coaches, and even some players have hired NOPD in the past to do bodyguard work and other details for them for different events and functions. But yes, the police department and the Saints have had a phenomenal relationship over the years… no doubt.
WDD: Looking at things from a security standpoint (especially in a post 9/11 world), was their any particular mandate or focus from NOPD when it came to protecting the players, fans, and coaches when in or around the dome?
DD: Well as you are aware, when 9/11 hit, the entire country was on full alert, so I would venture off to say that I am sure that extra precautionary measures were taken. I wasn’t privy to what all the details were, but suffice to say they were in place.
WDD: How many Doucette’s have served as members of the NOPD?
DD: There was ten of us. I am the last one standing!
WDD: How far along were you in your service with NOPD when you finally had the opportunity to work inside the dome during a Saints game?
DD: I started working in uniform in Saints games back in the 90’s. I then went from uniforms to working as a plain clothes officer probably in the mid 2000’s.
WDD: How far in advance would a given police officer find out he or she is actually going to be able to work a Saints game?
DD: Each supervisor would tell their particular unit of officers that they would be working that next home game, so you’re looking at about a week. Every now and then we would get a call informing us of changes, such as when an afternoon game gets changed to a late game. You normally would know before hand when your next Saints game would be.
WDD: Which team were the Saints playing when you first worked inside the dome as NOPD?
DD: We were playing the Atlanta Falcons—and we won!
WDD: What are your thoughts about the recent Super Bowl, and how the Falcons ultimately collapsed in epic fashion?
DD: Let me answer that question by saying this: I interacted with a friend of mine in Atlanta and he and I was going at it as most Saints-Falcon fans do. I said to him I tell you what, I have an idea for you! Fast forward the game to the last two minutes or so. Press pause; run outside to the middle of the street, and go ahead to yell “We did it! We did it! We won a Super Bowl just like the Saints!” Then go back inside, turn your tv off, and don’t ever turn it back on! And that was my take on the last Super Bowl!
WDD: Who determines the place of the NOPD throughout the dome during a Saints game?
DD: Capt. Ernest Demma would make that call. He puts together a game plane and decides who goes where and runs the entire Saints detail in coordination with the Saints own in-house security.
WDD: When exactly are you set to retire?
DD: March 31, 2017 is my official retirement day.
WDD: What ultimately made you call it a day?
DD: Well I am now a dinosaur to NOPD, and the work has changed so much from when I started. I really didn’t want to leave, but I have read between the lines and know it is time. I have loved my job with NOPD and had one of the best conviction rates in the department. I have a 100 percent conviction rate on all of my homicides and a 98 percent conviction on armed robberies. What happens was the way I think and the way I do things now just doesn’t coincide with todays ways of policing. I understand that, and respect it. I am not talking ill about the department at all. It is what it is.
WDD: You became a well-known figure in New Orleans and for that matter across the U.S. when you were featured in A&E’s “First 48”. Now that the city won’t be renewing ties with the production, what were your thoughts about the show itself?
DD: I thought the show as a fantastic idea and actually showed the citizens that we do solve crimes and bring murderers to justice. It showed the public a lot of baby steps we take about how we go about capturing suspect without giving up too many specifics, details and strategy. I think that overall the show was a blessing in my opinion, and was very helpful. More people began to come forward to the police after seeing that show. They realized that Crime Stoppers paid off and no one was ever going to be identified.
To conclude, from what I was told, my case that was featured on the show was the reason the series was not renewed with the city. The defense attorney for the killer who was ultimately convicted tried to make the jury believe that First 48 did not relinquish all of the video in their possession, and that he show overall tarnished his client in their mind. I explained on the stand that the show itself played no part whatsoever in our investigation, nor how we went about it. I was letter informed that that judge had a meeting with some heavy hitters and explained how she did not want to have to deal with that type of issue again. Soon after, word was out that the city had decided not to renew the series with A&E.