Commander Robert Norton
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ~John Quincy Adams
May 25, 2013
For the past six years, you have brought the First District out of its Katrina depression into one of the safest communities in New Orleans. There has never been a problem too small or too large that you could not personally respond. Even though you worked all day, you went to all of our crime walks and whatever other little thing we did.
Every police officer in the First District is professional in appearance and demeanor. It’s no accident that the First District has lower crime statistics than many areas in New Orleans: this condition is the result of a cohesive, professional unit of law enforcement officers. You have been a beacon of hope, kindness, and effective law enforcement for the First District.
Although we can be a fussy, picky group of people, you have always dispatched exactly the right Quality of Life Officer for Faubourg St. John. I know of no one who would hesitate to ask or tell Robert Norton anything. You have always responded to our email complaints and questions, phone calls and conversations graciously and attempted to understand our points of view.
Not long ago, you mobilized this entire community to find an armed robber. As vigilant as we were–and we were extremely observant and communicative with each other– we didn’t find him. But we ceased to be targets of opportunity, were able to relate information in a timely fashion that led to the arrest of others, and never heard from the armed robber again.
When Commander Norton asked for tips, everyone looked everywhere and came up with some tips! Actually, you probably got way too many tips. Still, this incident stands out for me as emblematic of our respect and trust in Robert Norton.
Bobby, you have been a unifying presence in a district that likes to be divided into little neighborhoods! You have taught us that we’re all in this together and have illustrated how far a little teamwork can go. Whenever I talk to neighbors in Esplanade Ridge, Treme, and Fairgrounds Triangle, everyone knows you and speaks fondly of working with you and your department to solve real problems.
Although you are leaving, you have made permanent changes in the police-community relationship in the First District. You will bring the same professional and caring spirit to your new post as you continue to be a change agent wherever you go. I will miss you terribly and want you to know if there’s every anything I can do for you, I would be so happy to do so.