NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Police Department is expected to roll out a new officer deployment strategy this weekend.
The NOPD has scheduled an afternoon news conference to outline revamped patrol shifts beginning as early as Sunday.
It’s part of a sweeping plan drawn up by police consultants and former New York City Police department commanders Fausto Pichardo and Thomas Conforti. They were hired by the city to take a deep dive into ongoing challenges at the NOPD, most notable, how to do more with less in a department that has now dropped below 950 commissioned officers. The department was built for 1600 officers.
The consultant’s original recommendation was to redeploy more than 200 officers now working in administrative jobs, district detective bureaus and other specialized units to join the under-staffed street patrols.
“The re-allocation of commissioned officers to provide patrol support is unavoidable,” the consultant’s report states. “No one is exempt, regardless of rank or assignment. Staffing levels on the street must rise to a level in which officers are safe.”
The number of cops possibly returned to the streets has already been whittled down to between 75-100 officers.
The NOPD is also considering hiring additional civilian contractors to answer some calls for service. That would take some of the burden off of patrol officers with a goal of improving the department’s response times.
The civilians could respond to minor traffic accidents, low level domestic incidents and mental health calls.
Among the other consultant recommendations, assigning 40 reserve officers to the high-crime 5th and 7th districts, putting captains who aren’t district commanders on night duty in each district for a 24/7 command presence.
Police Association of New Orleans President Michael Glasser told WWL-TV, getting 40 of the NOPD’s 85 reserve officers to help out with patrol duty may be an uphill climb.
Stay tuned to WWL-TV and WWLTV.com for the latest on this developing story.