NEW ORLEANS - As the New Orleans Police Department battles a persistently high murder rate, the city will now give homicide detectives a little more to help solve those killings: a pay raise.
The civil service commission voted Monday to give homicide detectives and supervisors a five percent increase, effective on their next paycheck.
Capt. Michael Glasser, president of the Police Association of New Orleans, has pushed for the pay increase since December, but the city administration didn’t get on board until this month.
Glasser said the raise is critical at a time when murders are rising and the number of detectives has dropped to its lowest point in several years. The unit had 29 detectives in 2014 compared to 18 detectives today.
The understaffing, coupled with a high homicide rate, has burdened detectives with a caseload of more than 10 murders a year, double the caseload recommended by national police organizations.
Glasser said a recent job posting to attract new detectives from the ranks of other NOPD officers received virtually no interest.
“It has not been an attractive place to work and we're trying to reverse that,” Glasser said. “We're trying to incentivize the job a little bit and recognize the fact that it is in a critical stage and try to fix that and attract new people with a raise and reward the people that are there and working very, very hard under that caseload.”
Adding to the troubles of the homicide unit is a dismal clearance rate compared to national averages. FBI statistics show that the average homicide clearance rate is about 62 percent nationally, while the NOPD recorded a 27 percent clearance rate in 2016.
In making his case for the pay raise, Glasser also pointed out that the city granted similar raises recently to officers in the sex crimes unit and Public Integrity Bureau.