NEW ORLEANS -- A massive investment in getting more police officers on the streets of New Orleans is a major part Mayor Mitch Landrieu's 2014 budget proposal.
Landrieu wants to fund five New Orleans Police Department recruit classes, which would mean 150 new officers for the department. Part of the plan would include two new recruitment positions, Landrieu said, plus $300,000 for a recruitment campaign.
Currently, the NOPD force level is around 1,200 officers. Superintendant Ronal Serpas said in September he needs and additonal 300 officers to provide the level of response he expects.
The plan to add the officers to the NOPD comes as Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin said some city government departments could see 30 percent cuts to their budgets, although Kopplin said the city will try to replace some of that with federal money.
Among the other additions to the budget, Landrieu said he wants to invest "nearly half a million" dollars for new blight inspectors and title research staff, to launch an offender re-entry program in 2014 and add $1 million to the recreation department in 2014.
Landrieu said the city is facing a looming budget crisis and must reform the firefighter pension board because if the city is forced to pay $17.5 million judgment there will be "devastating consequences."