NOPD Details in Jeopardy As Retention Woes Continue

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“The only way for a New Orleans police officer to make it is through paid details, and now that is under considerable fire,” says PANO President Mike Glasser.

Just as the NOPD begins attracting new hires they’ve been slammed with the possibility of having to lose their biggest detail, working overtime for the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena.

“Now the city has pretty much priced itself out of the market, and apparently the Superdome is not going for it and they have options,” says Glasser.

Attorney Raymond Burkart III with the Fraternal Order of Police says, “If we lose that detail that is going to kill our attrition. I mean, this is how police officers support their families, because the council, to date, refuses to provide the funding and the mayor’s office for a raise.”

There was no mention of the dome drama at a criminal justice meeting between several councilmembers and NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas.

Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell asks, “On a daily basis, how many officers, do we have a number?”

“We average, after days off, after training days, after sick leave, after military leave; we average about six to seven people per district going to work every day during that time frame,” replies Chief Serpas.

The focus in here was on the number of officers actually on the streets. In 2010 roughly 1500 officers made up the NOPD. Now the number is down to about 1200.

The chief says every year officers leave and for the past three they haven’t been hiring. PANO President Mike Glasser says call times have increased from about 9 minutes to 14 for code two emergencies.

“When people call for the police their expectation is that we are going to show up rather quickly. We’re not going to be able to do that,” says Glasser.

But the chief hopes to turn things around in 2014 saying they have a budget to hire 100 new officers and that recruitment efforts are now in full swing.

Chief Serpas says he would ideally like 1500 to nearly 1600 men and women on the force.