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 and 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.
In 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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