NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell and New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson announced an $80 million proposal for the NOPD that includes new benefits and investments in technology.
City Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano broke down the details of the $80 million investment in bonuses for new and existing officers, more police technology and a goal to recruit 200 officers additonal to the city.
In an effort to create faster response times to 9-1-1 calls, Cantrell and Ferguson said they will periodically call officers into patrol duty from their other roles. This reassignment will include homicide investigators and police on office duty.
"We're giving everyone a bite at the apple," Chief Ferguson said. "Supporting officers that are in the field running from call to call ... to ensure that when they are calling for backup that there is someone to respond for their assistance as well."
In the plan, each of the potential new hires will receive $30,000 hiring bonus, $20,000 will be given to new officers after one year and another $10,000 after their second year.
NOPD officer salaries will also increase under the plan, with an across the board raise of 5% per year for three years.
Under the plan, every officer along with the EMS workers and fire department members, will have their health insurance coverage fully paid for as well.
Officers will also be subject to an education incentive package, which, in part, will help NOPD members pay off student debt and education related costs.
To encourage more police to move within New Orleans city limits, NOPD is looking to provide officers with relocation and rental assistance, in addition to other relief.
The mayor also announced Keith Sanchez as the new head of the public integrity bureau, replacing Chief Arlinda Westbrook who has been reassigned to an administrative role that focuses on the department's cooperation with the federal consent decree.
"The priority also still remains, ensuring that we get to full compliance within that consent decree," Cantrell said. "That work will continue and advancing the work that we now that is happening on the ground within the New Orleans Police Department."
Cantrell, Ferguson and Montano were joined by Fausto Pichardo, a former New York Police Department patrol chief, who has served as a consultant to NOPD.
Pichardo started working with NOPD at the end of August, bringing an 88-page plan and a team of consultants, including a former NYPD Crime Prevention Unit commander, to New Orleans. Pichardo's official NOPD title, according to the mayor's office is consulting chief of operations.
In the conference, Pichardo praised Cantrell's policies toward NOPD officers and described his collaboration with Chief Ferguson, who also serves as police superintendent.
"I have been here for a number of days now and there has not gone a day where the superintendent and I have not met, texted, or talked," Pichardo said. "And whatever tasks he has delineated, it exactly what I will do."