NEW ORLEANS -- Some good news for the NOPD: the number of recruits dramatically increased this year, putting the department on a pace that will add 30 to 50 new officers each year.
Morgan Bicio became a New Orleans Police recruit for one simple reason.
"I wanted to make a difference," HE said.
Bicio isn't the only one. The New Orleans Police Department has focused on restoring its image through outreach and recruiting. Now the numbers show it's paying off.
"We're making some big strides, doing some really good things," Deputy Superintendent John Thomas said. "If you saw in recent history our approval rating has gone up, we're getting out there in the community talking to people."
Deputy Superintendent Thomas says the results are two fold. Residents are more likely to come forward and report crimes once a relationship has been established with police.
"I've had friends of the family that actually came to me and reported crime because they felt comfortable," Thomas said.
More community outreach means more NOPD recruits.
"The number of applicants has skyrocketed essentially," WWL Crime Analyst Jeff Asher said. Asher expects as the department grows, the city will start to notice a difference.
"You'll see response times decrease, you'll see more proactive patrols, more general patrolling, you'll see more cases solved," Asher said.
Bicio is ready to be a part of that change and a part of New Orleans.
"Everybody is friends with everybody, everybody is here to help," Bicio said of the city. "I really like that atmosphere and I want to be a part of something like that."
So far in 2017 the NOPD has seen a 134 percent increase in recruits.
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