Can the NOPD hire more officers than it will lose in 2023?

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:12 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans Police Superintendent Michelle Woodfork went before the City Council on Tuesday (Feb. 7) to provide an update on recruitment efforts for a department in dire need of new officers.

Currently, the NOPD says there are 922 sworn officers in the department. If all goes according to plan, Woodfork says she plans to add 68 officers this year.

In the first five weeks of the new year, 12 officers have turned in their badges. In all of 2022, the Police Association of New Orleans says the NOPD lost 168 officers.

Woodfork says recruitment efforts include putting up billboards, and yard signs, and asking former officers to come back.

High-ranking deputy superintendents have been tasked with calling recently resigned officers and telling them about new retention pay incentives to see if they are interested in returning to the force.

More: New Orleans councilmembers unimpressed with NOPD recruitment results

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) says the most important aspect of increasing police manpower is creating positive word-of-mouth advertising.

“Making the NOPD a better place to work is the key to recruitment,” said FOP attorney Claude Schlesinger. “When New Orleans police officers themselves start recommending employment to potential recruits, then recruitment will pick up.”

Woodfork is also planning to add an additional 102 civilians to the 30 recently hired to handle things like DNA testing, car crashes, crime lab analysis, and alternative police response.

Council President J.P. Morrell says more regular promotions could help retain veteran officers. The last time a police officer was promoted to the rank of major was over 20 years ago, Morrell said.

Last week, the council voted in favor of auditing the police recruitment and hiring process. Depending on what the audit finds, council members say they may look to hire an outside firm to take over.


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