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NOPD chief says new police patrol strategy will debut on Sunday

To get more cops on the beat, the NOPD is reassigning dozens of officers now in administrative, specialty and district investigative units to street duty.

NEW ORLEANS — Beginning on Sunday, up to 75 additional New Orleans police officers will be back on patrol.

“We must be successful and creative in reimagining policing, staffing and deployment given the challenges we are facing today,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said on Thursday.

To get more cops on the beat, the NOPD is reassigning dozens of officers now in administrative, specialty and district investigative units to street duty.

Even NOPD ranking officers will be required to patrol at least once a week.

Police Association of New Orleans President Michael Glasser calls the new deployment strategy painful but necessary.

“The only way for us to respond to calls for service in a timely fashion is to put more people doing it,” Glasser said. “The only way for us to protect the people doing it when they need support and help is to put more people doing it. We have to get them somewhere and that’s from everywhere else.”

Ferguson said the department has also identified 75 new civilian positions to support NOPD officers.

“Quite honestly, there’s some calls that do not necessarily require a physical police response such as medical calls, forgery calls, thefts, some thefts, loose animals, auto accidents on private property,” Ferguson added.

As far as recruiting, the chief said prior marijuana usage and low credit scores will no longer be held against NOPD applicants.

Many of the changes were part of the sweeping plan drawn up by police consultants and former NYPD commanders Fausto Pichardo and Thomas Conforti.

They were hired by the city to make recommendations on how to address the many challenges now facing the department.

 “We can’t sit by and watch this continue and do nothing different,” Glasser said. “That’s the part of the thing we’ve been talking about for the last two years now.”

As part of the changes, Keith Sanchez now takes over as deputy superintendent over the Public Integrity Bureau.

PIB was identified by the consultants and police union as an area where change was needed.

The city also announced pay raises and hiring and retention bonuses for NOPD officers.

RELATED: Mayor Cantrell, police chief announce changes to NOPD

RELATED: NOPD expected to move officers from admin jobs to the streets this weekend

RELATED: New Orleans councilman criticizes some new NOPD plans

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