NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The New Orleans Police Department is reimagining policing and is getting creative with processes like hiring and organizing patrol shifts. NOPD Supt. Shaun Ferguson says the average response time currently sits at 11 minutes, but with the help of civilians, the department can reduce that time.

“This is a tough fight that we must stay the course on,” Ferguson said at a press conference on Thursday.

“What we are going to be doing in the future is hiring civilians and police intake specialists. We are looking to hire 25 civilians so we can have around-the-clock staffing, telephones to take those reports, and around-the-clock staffing to monitor these online reports.”

In addition to hiring between 50 to 75 additional civilians, those officers on detective status will be going back to work on the street on a rotational basis through a program called “DART” — District Assist Response Team.

“Starting this Sunday, as many as 75 more officers will be on patrol. That will consist of officers assigned to administrative districts and district investigative units,” Ferguson added. “Their mission is to attack the backlog of the very district they are serving.”

The NOPD is also reducing requirements to work for the NOPD regarding marijuana. Marijuana use before getting hired will not be considered and low credit scores will no longer have an impact.

“We have to adjust daily and our commitment is to the safety of those officers as well as the safety of citizens and visitors of New Orleans,” said Ferguson.

Next week, the NOPD will graduate 18 new officers and there are currently 12 recruits. Watch the full NOPD press conference in the player below.

WATCH: NOPD Press Conference on Sept. 22, 2022

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