The report titled “New Orleans Police Department Staffing and Deployment: Meet the Demand of Citizen Calls for Service with Existing Resources,” was conducted as a response to community concerns and the pledge by city leaders to hire more officers.
Evaluators found that in May 2013 most NOPD platoons were understaffed, leading to long wait times for citizens calling 911.
But simply hiring additional officers will not fix the problem, Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux said in a report.
Instead a police-staffing expert recommended that sworn officers only be assigned to duties that require law enforcement training; increase supervisors’ control; and develop alternative ways for responding to silent alarms and minor traffic accidents, which has taxed every major city in recent years.
Read the 102-page report HERE.
The report details that in May 2013 only 21-percent of sworn police officers in the NOPD were assigned to regularly patrolling and responding to emergency calls. The rest were either promoted to sergeant or assigned to administrative tasks.
“We have a sergeant for every four patrolmen. The national average is somewhere around 7 or 8, even higher,” Quatrevaux explained.
“We also found that there are a number of positions in NOPD that don’t require a badge. We used the criteria of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and identified over 100 positions that could just as well be done by civilians.”
Quatrevaux said hiring additional staff members — not officers would be cheaper and benefit the city more.
He advised the NOPD to explore all possible options before increasing the number of officers.
“We need to hire officers every year, just like a football team, so we have young people replacing people who leave through attrition, but we do not need to hire an extra 300 police officers to do the work,” Quatrevaux concluded.
Tuesday the NOPD welcomed 31 new recruits. At the press conference NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas took the time to plead his case for more officers.
“Our package of 1,575 includes a group of dedicated offices that would be in the downtown area so we don’t have to shutdown detective functions, we don’t have to shutdown narcotics investigations to bring uniformed officers,” he said.
The NODP currently has 1,160 sworn officers.