NEW ORLEANS — 105 New Orleans police officers have retired or resigned this year alone… bringing the current headcount to less than 950 commissioned officers.
So how do we build the department back up from here and keep those officers?
The consultants from New York laid out some ideas.
Like no-cost health insurance coverage, pensionable overtime, a student-debt forgiveness program, and incentives for officers who come back to NOPD after leaving for another law enforcement agency.
Improved technology could make things easier too. The report recommends giving each NOPD officer a laptop and a smartphone, upgrading district desktop computers, and making it easier for officers to gain access to all department databases and surveillance tools.
When it comes to recruitment. the report recommends developing a program to give preferential processing for New Orleans residents, providing moving expenses for new hires coming in from other areas, a police cadet program tailored to high school students, and partnering with the Saints and Pelicans to create scholarship opportunities.
They'd also like to see the department plan ahead for anticipated retirements and get on top of vehicle and equipment maintenance.
All of this is meant to sweeten the deal for officers who might look at other agencies nearby with lower crime and higher pay.
The report said, "Making NOPD a desired place to work again will be difficult" but it can be accomplished.