The New Orleans police emergency response to Hurricane Katrina: A case study

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Thomas Payne

Advisor Department

Criminal Justice


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 storm, with sustained winds of one hundred and twenty miles per hour and a twenty-eight foot tidal surge, roared into the city of New Orleans. The tidal surge caused several breeches in the levee system, which resulted in the flooding of eighty percent of the city. This disastrous storm debilitated the entire criminal justice system. This research project is a case study that will explore the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) emergency response to Hurricane Katrina. While this exploratory study has no formal hypothesis, it seeks to examine the relationship between the independent variables, identified as: training, communications, leadership, higher education, and hiring standards, and the dependent variable which has been identified as the NOPD emergency response to Hurricane Katrina. In this study, structured interviews served as the primary source of data and the participants were asked 15 significant questions. The personal interviews revealed that there is a significant relationship between training, communications, leadership and hiring standards and police performance during critical situations such as a natural disaster. However, the participants indicated that police experience was more important to police performance than a higher education. In addition, this study revealed that training and proper emergency planning are vital to any police emergency response to a critical situation.