With Financial Assistance, NOPD Officers Are Earning Higher Education Degrees
NEW ORLEANS – NOPD officers are encouraged to keep training and keep learning throughout their careers, and the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation (NOPJF) is helping to make it possible.
The NOPJF offers the Tuition Assistance Program to help NOPD officers and civilian employees further their education. Sergeant Latina Jolivette took advantage of the program and began pursuing her first degree as soon as she was eligible.
“As soon as I got on the street I wanted to further my education,” Sgt. Jolivette said. “There was an education incentive for officers and I took advantage of it. I graduated from Loyola University with my BA in criminal justice and now I have my master’s in social work – I graduated in 2013. I’m a licensed social worker right now and I’m working toward my clinical license (LCSW).”
Shaun Ferguson, Commander of the Second District, is finishing up a master’s degree in criminal justice from Southern University of New Orleans. He opted to go back to school to further his career but he also wanted to prove a point.
“Number one it was more of a personal goal of mine, but (I did it) for my kids as well,” Ferguson said. “Just to let them know that you’re never too old to learn anything. The other is the career advancement opportunities that it presents. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to move forward no matter where we are on this ladder, from a patrolman up to the superintendent.”
NOPD offers an annual salary incentive for officers who earn college degrees. Officers who have an associate degree earn an additional $1,000 per year, those with a bachelor’s receive an extra $2,000, and officers who earn master’s degrees earn $3,000 more per year. The incentive is paid for the highest degree achieved.
NOPJF’s Tuition Assistance Program provides undergraduates with a reimbursement of $50 per credit hour, with a maximum of 6 hours per semester. Participants must achieve at least a grade of C to receive reimbursement. Graduate students receive $100 per credit hour, with a maximum of 6 hours per semester, and they must attain at least a grade of B.
“Any financial assistance in going back to school is definitely a plus,” added Ferguson. “And to have this tuition assistance program through the NOPJF really helped encourage me to go back to school at this point in my life. To advance your career through education is always a plus.”
NOPJF recognizes the importance of higher education in the development of the department’s employees and encourages them to achieve their full personal and professional potential. Since 1999, the program has provided over $545,000 in assistance to NOPD employees seeking to advance their careers through higher education.