Get Your Recruiting Bonus


The other day, I wrote an article entitled “JoinNOPD – Unique Opportunities Abound.” This article was geared toward anyone who was thinking about joining the NOPD. If you think about it, there really are plenty of opportunities which have been created by the lack of manpower. There are certainly plenty of opportunities compared to when I was on the job. When the administration decides that they need to build up the Tactical platoons or the Motorcycle platoons, there will be a good number of spots available. This will happen eventually, but the NOPD needs to do some hiring first.

In any event, I know that there are some folks who have a difficult time discussing anything positive about the job these days. There are plenty of issues we face on a daily basis which are troubling, disheartening, or downright unsafe. The thing we hear about the most is the shortage of officers.

I have been affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police for quite a while now. For moreIMG_0698 than 10 years, I have been involved in the organization in some type of leadership capacity. While I have never held an elected position, I have been hands-on with the heavy lifting. I was very proud to be affiliated with the FOP when the National and State Lodges donated over $1.5 million worth of equipment, supplies and direct financial assistance to its members in Louisiana after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The Louisiana State Lodge, through a grant from the National FOP Foundation, was able to write a check for $500.00 to over 2300 police officers in south Louisiana, including 1200 members of the New Orleans Police Department. I have been proud to be an FOP member on far too many occasions to mention – we provided Andres Gonzales with an attorney specializing in Workers katrina suppliesCompensation after he was shot, helping him navigate the process of having his home rebuilt to wheelchair specifications.  We provided that same assistance to John Passaro after he was shot. Last year alone we provided over $44,000.00 in direct financial assistance to New Orleans police officers injured on duty or administratively reassigned pending investigations of job related actions. The FOP paid for the defense of the majority of the Danziger and Glover defendants, as well as providing an attorney to the 80+ police officers interviewed or called as witnesses in those cases. We continue to provide an attorney to every member finding himself, or herself the target of a criminal investigation, a civil litigation, or a disciplinary investigation.

The reason I bring all this up is not to brag on the FOP (although it would certainly be worth bragging about), but to say that my experience tells me that we have to do more than bitch about the things we do not like. The manpower situation is dangerous. It is dangerous for the men and women of the NOPD and it is dangerous for the citizens and visitors of New Orleans. It is easy to complain about and easy to point to examples of why it is bad, and who is to blame.

We can complain and wait for someone else to take steps to make it better or we can complain and take steps to make it better ourselves. We may not be able to fix the problem by ourselves, but we can contribute to the effort in some tangible way to make it better. Whether we like the current Mayor or not, the only ill-effects he experiences as a result of our dangerous situation is that his stolen car isn’t recovered as quickly as it might be otherwise.

So, we can bitch about it and expect someone else to do the work or we can bitch about it and contribute to a solution. The first step is to become more involved as an FOP member.

The New Orleans Police Department needs new hires and lateral transfers. While NOPJF is doing a good job, the best recruiters for a police department are its current officers. In addition, current officers stand to make an extra $1,000 for recruiting new officers (as long as you are not assigned to Recruiting).

How do you make $1,000 for recruiting new officers? Once you have convinced someone they should consider applying to the New Orleans Police Department, FullSizeRender (1)they will need to visit to do so. When they click on Apply Online Now, they will be brought to an application. On the application, there is a space for the name of the NOPD officer referring the applicant. If the individual is hired, the referring officer receives $500.00 when the newly hired officer starts the Academy. The referring officer receives an additional $500 when the newly hired officer is promoted to Police Officer I. Easy enough?


The Fraternal Order of Police is calling on its members to help the New Orleans Police Department out of its manpower crisis by talking to friends and family members about joining the NOPD. There might just be $1000.00 in it for you…. I do not think that anyone has taken advantage of this opportunity as of yet. You can be the first…

JoinNOPD – Unique Opportunities Abound

untitled (3)Manpower in the New Orleans Police Department is at historic lows.  There are currently somewhere around 1,100 commissioned members of the NOPD, if you include the recent academy graduates who are currently in field training.  There are two other academy classes currently ongoing and the NOPD is budgeted to hire another 150 officers in 2015.  The Fraternal Order of Police has been at the forefront of this issue, pushing for hiring and pay raises when a hiring freeze was first put in place in the beginning of Mayor Landrieu’s tenure.  Today, business leaders and the public have gotten involved calling for a fix to this crisis, adding new officers and keeping experienced veterans.

For job hunters considering a career in law enforcement, the manpower crisis in New Orleans translates to opportunity.  It will take decades to undo the staffing problems created by years of neglecting recruitment and retention, so these opportunities are not likely to disappear any time soon.

The New Orleans Police Department serves an urban population of about 380,000 anduntitled is the center of a metropolitan area with a population of 1.2M.  New Orleans is home to the world-famous French Quarter and the equally famous Bourbon Street.  New Orleans is the home of world-class events and festivals such as Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  New Orleans has hosted 10 NFL Super Bowl games (tied with Miami for most Super Bowls).  Somewhere around 9 Million people visit New Orleans annually from all parts of the world.  The New Orleans Police Department is widely acknowledged for its crowd control prowess.

The New Orleans Police Department is made up of a patrol function, investigative function, and support functions.  With the exception of full-time air support, the New Orleans Police Department has all of the police functions one would expect from a modern, big city police department.  All of these specialized units, something that most aspiring law enforcement professionals might be interested in, are suffering from the same manpower shortages that the rest of the department is suffering from.  This means opportunity for those interested in pursuing this aspect of a law enforcement career.

IMG_1309-0In addition to the possibilities created by the lack of manpower, the New Orleans Police Department has experienced a rebirth of sorts.  In 2013, the City of New Orleans became a party to a federal consent decree.  The consent decree, while unearned, has created a situation where significant changes are required to be implemented.  The loss of manpower is a common side-effect of these consent decrees.  The Feds are happy to see the old guard call it a day so that a significant portion of the department employees are consent decree employees.  This also creates opportunity for the newly hired with ambition — opportunities to move into leadership positions and develop policy.

Current entry-level NOPD salaries are generally competitive in southeast Louisiana and in other areas of the country.  There is much work to do with regard to NOPD salaries.  The Fraternal Order of Police stands ready to continue to fight for what are truly competitive salaries.  So, while the New Orleans Police Department’s salaries do not match up beyond the entry-level salaries, the public is aware and on our side.  The Civil Service Commission had recommended a 20% raise.  The groundwork has been laid and all roads lead to more substantial raises.  The Fraternal Order of Police has been there and will be hard at work until these raises become a reality.

The New Orleans Police Department needs new officers and lateral transfers.  The people of New Orleans are clamoring for new officers and lateral transfers.  The opportunities available to members of the New Orleans Police Department and those that join the New Orleans Police Department are unusual.  People considering a career in law enforcement and potential lateral transfers would benefit by taking advantage of these opportunities and placing a bet that the Fraternal Order of Police and the people of New Orleans will prevail upon our elected officials to raise pay to a truly competitive level.

Please take the time to visit WWW.JOINNOPD.ORG for more information and to complete an application.

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Use of Force – A Sergeant’s Perspective


“Use of force”, three words that have become the center of debates across the country in this time of heavy scrutiny, and second guessing of law enforcement actions. They are also three words that are an everyday reality and part of the job that goes along with being a law enforcement officer.

Every day we go to work not knowing what each day will bring. The unknown is part of the excitement that propels some of us forward in our day to day interaction with the public; the unknown. Although most of us are prepared for the ever changing variables in most given scenarios, we never know how truly prepared we are until our mettle is tested in the heat of the moment.

This includes not only how we escalate and deescalate a situation, it begins from the moment we are sent on a call for service. Our attitude towards the call and the callers is one big variable. Are we anxious and nervous, are we arrogant and cocky; both of these have the potential to result in a misunderstanding between us and the public. Do we have these attitudes when we arrive, or is this how the public perceives us?

Attitudes aside, let’s examine what happens once we are on the scene of a dispatched call, or one that we come across ourselves. How do we present ourselves? Is the uniform neat? Does the Officer appear to be a professional who cares? Appearance; like it or not, is also a big part of the job. I have been told by my father, who was a NY Police Sergeant and had 34 years on the job, that your appearance matters. People are sizing you up the moment you arrive. It can help alleviate the fears of a victim, if they see an Officer who appears to know how to handle him or herself on the streets. If you look like you know what you are doing, and your stuff is in order; the criminals might think twice to try and pull one over on you, or to fight you. Again, this isn’t always the case, but it helps.

However, when the criminal has sized you up and decides that he is going to run, fight, or both; you need to be prepared to use the appropriate level of force needed to neutralize the threat. This is where things get dicey.

With the recent events in Ferguson, MO, and Staten Island, NY; law enforcement, and in particular “use of force” tactics have come under attack in the media, and by politicians and talking heads across the country. As we know, each incident involving “use of force” is unique unto itself, and therefore a blanketed solution is by design, a failed solution.

However, this will not stop politicians and appointed staff members of departments across the country from giving into the public hysteria; which will undoubtedly result in new laws being written, new department policies being written, and old laws and policies either being rewritten or scrapped entirely. Like it or not, it is happening, and it will continue to happen. Whether we want to admit it or not, not all change is bad, but we should approach it with some apprehension and trepidation. Not to do so, would be foolish, and against our better judgment as the inquisitive investigators that we are by nature.

Although I have not been a Police Officer that long compared to some of my colleagues, in my short tenure, I have used every tool on my belt at one time or another. Each time was the result of a scenario where an escalation or de-escalation in a “use of force” was needed. Like you, I now look at some tools on my duty belt as mere paper weights, and wonder why I even carry that particular item anymore. But I soon come to my senses and remember that there has been a time when each of these tools was needed, and because they were applied correctly according to the policies and procedures of the department, and because they were used within the correct legal context, my actions were justified.

My advice to all law enforcement officers out there regarding today’s heated political climate is this; utilize the tools in your arsenal. This doesn’t just include the items on your duty belt. Familiarize yourself with the ever changing and evolving laws and departmental policies and procedures that govern our actions in the field. Remember your attitude, and how you present yourself to the people you encounter on the street. Most importantly, work on your writing and documentation skills. This includes our newest accoutrement, the TASER body worn camera. These cameras, like the in car cameras and inevitable legislative and judicial changes that will be brought about from these recent incidents, will not be going away any time soon. Use this to your advantage, to show why you did what you did. This will go hand in hand with helping to justify your actions when it is deemed necessary to escalate and de-escalate a situation.

Although the public will never fully understand what we face in the streets every day, we can perhaps offer them a window into the all too often ugly and disparaging world that we deal with, through our reports and our videos. You will always have the naysayers and nonbelievers, but that’s par for the course; and they are actually very few.

The pendulum is being pushed too far in one direction at the moment because of hasty political decisions. Do not fall victim to this or its cousin, the guillotine, in today’s climate. When in doubt, call a supervisor, and if needs be, call your FOP legal representation.

Remember that the number one mission for every Officer out there is to go home in one piece at the end of each tour of duty. In closing, do not shy away from using your tools when the situation arises, but at the same time be mindful of what the world has become, and where it is going.

Take these things that they have placed upon you, meant to be shackles to impede your ability to enforce the law; and instead, make them the keys to your unimpeded path to enforce the law with uninhibited vigor and vivacity.

Sgt. Michael Rooney
New Orleans Police Department


NOPD Disciplines Officers for Manpower Shortage – Gives up on Morale


The New Orleans Police Department has apparently decided to punish its officers for the atrocious manpower woes faced by the department.  2014 ended with another 120 officer separations, bringing NOPD commissioned manpower down to 1,092.  NOPD started 2 academy classes, 1 of which has entered the field training phase of the academy.  Of course, this is shy of the goal of 3 academy classes for 2014.  Fifty-nine people were hired and 4 of those have already been lost – shy of the goal of 150 new employees.  The net manpower loss for 2014 was 65.  We have already lost 2 in 2015.

Superintendent Michael Harrison has indicated that he is taking steps to bolster morale in the shrinking NOPD.  He says that he has purchased new computers, new cars, and new TASERS – not to mention a 5% across the board raise for officers. (This column is not intended to address the raise; save that for another day.)

It was learned last week that the New Orleans Police Department has canceled all previously approved furlough requests for the 2015 Mardi Gras season.  Other folks who have put in furlough requests for the Mardi Gras season, some submitted in 2014, simply won’t receive a response – effectively disapproving the request (in violation of Civil Service Rules).  In addition, officers — who still need to take days off during the Mardi Gras season to control overtime costs — will not be allowed to shift those off days if a particular day off is needed.

Why is this even an issue?  Doesn’t everyone work during Mardi Gras?

Yes.  Everyone works during the 12 days that comprise the Mardi Gras season.  Starting February 6, everyone not on limited duty or out of work for some reason, will be working.  February 9 and 10 will be days off for a lot of officers because there are no parades on those two days.

There are, however, a handful of officers who ride in Mardi Gras parades.  In fact, one officer is the Captain of a popular Mardi Gras krewe.  Most of these officers have been riding in their respective parade of choice for a long time.  Every year, for one of the 12 days of Mardi Gras coverage, these officers shift from Mardi Gras Police to Mardi Gras Reveler.

The officers, who participate in various parades on various days, invest thousands of dollars in these rides, much like other parade participants.  You have to start planning early if you ride in a Mardi Gras parade.  You can’t expect to be ready for your February parade if you start planning in mid-January.

So, officers who ride in Mardi Gras parades purchase their costumes and throws well in advance of the actual parade.  Some will start planning Mardi Gras 2016 on February 18, 2015.

Officers who ride in Mardi Gras parades have also already submitted furlough requests for the day of their parade — weeks or months ago.  Most of these officers have been doing this for years, so they know these requests need to be in well in advance.  These furlough requests are not for the whole 12 days — just the one parade day.

So, the NOPD has rescinded any furlough approval previously given for Mardi Gras.  Any furlough requests not approved or disapproved yet will either be ignored (in violation of Civil Service Rules) or disapproved and officers will not be able to switch their off days to accommodate their parade night.  Effectively, the NOPD has said that even if you have invested thousands of dollars, officers will not be allowed to ride in Mardi Gras parades in 2015.  In fact, what I heard was that Division Commanders will decide on a case by case basis if an officer can ride in a parade IF they happen to be lucky enough to have been scheduled off for their parade day.  I can’t believe this is true because I think officers still get to decide how to spend their off day without their Division Commander’s approval regardless of manpower woes.

Some reading this may say that missing out on a parade isn’t the end of the world, and it’s not.  However, officers should not have to lose the financial investment they have made in these events (even with the 5% raise).  It is Mardi Gras this time.  Next time it could be Jazz Fest where you have already paid $10,000 for your annual family vacation – which may be Granny’s last.  Also, speaking as a life-long New Orleanian, I know that Mardi Gras is extraordinarily and culturally important to some folks.  It simply isn’t fair to spring this on officers at the last minute after financial investments have been made.  It will be especially troubling when we inevitably learn that some manage to ride on Mardi Gras Day when others were denied.

We acknowledge that the current manpower is more than a little troubling.  One does not have to look to hard to find video of me on the news complaining about a lack of officers.  However, if the NOPD cannot afford to give one day off to a few officers during the Mardi Gras season or risk the safety of all Mardi Gras attendees and New Orleans residents, then I submit that the problem is much worse than any of us have imagined.  I could only imagine that the next step will be to implement a seven-day work week for everyone.  We are already taking officers from the districts (the boots on the ground) to make a new task force to supplement short-handed districts.

What is clear is that officers are being told that they will pay the price for administration’s inability or refusal to hire new officers to offset attrition.  It is also clear that any proclamations that work is being done to improve morale is only lip service.  I predict we lose another officer or two over this.