NOPD Begins First Phase Of Restructuring Effort To Increase Police Presence In Neighborhoods Across The City
NEW ORLEANS—Starting this week, residents and visitors will see a significant surge in neighborhood patrols as the NOPD adds a total of 54 officers to patrol to respond to citizen calls for service. The additional manpower on the street is the first phase of a major restructuring effort within the department that aims to increase police presence and reduce violent crime in neighborhoods across the city.
“My number one priority is to make New Orleans a safer city and we are doing that by putting the right number of officers on the street to prevent crime and to respond quickly when residents need our help,” said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. “This new deployment strategy makes us more visible and gives us the resources we need to quickly dispatch an officer to a person in need. I am committed to continuing to use our resources efficiently and effectively to give our community the police services they deserve. And as we continue to grow, every neighborhood will see more police.”
The restructuring effort is based on a review commissioned by Chief Harrison in 2015 that analyzed department staffing and resources to determine the most effective and efficient structuring of the NOPD. Based on the staffing analysis portion of the study, which included interviews and focus groups with officers, Berkshire Advisors determined that the department needed to add a minimum of 94 officers to patrol.
The first phase of the restructuring effort that begins today includes the reassignment of a total of 54 officers to patrol.
• Consolidating staff positions and reassigning district duties. This move shifts non-essential duties, including administrative and mechanical tasks, away from commissioned officers.
• Reassignment of Motorcycle Division to districts. This move puts officers who are specially trained in traffic enforcement in the districts.
• Reassignment of Community Coordinating Sergeants and Quality of Life Officers to patrol duties. As the NOPD moves toward becoming a strong community policing focused department, every officer is being trained to provide these services to citizens. In addition to putting more boots on the ground, the new deployment strategy builds more free time into officers’ schedules for community policing activities.
On top of reassigning these officers to patrol in this first phase, 28 recruits from Class #173 will complete field training and will begin patrol on April 24. The second phase of the restructuring effort will add more officers to patrol as soon as their civilian replacements are hired, which is expected to happen by the end of the first quarter of this year.
More boots on the ground will lead to better response times
Having more officers available to respond to citizen calls for service is expected to significantly decrease police response times. In fact, according to the Berkshire Advisors review, putting an additional 94 officers on patrol, will allow the NOPD to respond to 90 percent of all emergency calls for service within 7 minutes.
At the same time, Chief Harrison has worked to create innovative solutions to free up officers’ time in the field, including:
• Adding more staff in the Alternative Police Response (APR) Unit to handle non-violent property crime reports via telephone;
• Building an on-line reporting system to report non-violent property crimes to police; and
• Updating the City’s False Alarm Ordinance to cut time wasted responding to false alarms.
The NOPD is also continuing its aggressive recruiting and hiring campaign, which led to the launch of four new recruit classes in 2015. Right now, a total of 56 recruits are in training at the NOPD Training Academy. The department is expected to graduate one recruit class and start another recruit class in April.