Chief says NOPD can get the job done with as few as 1,385 officers, but force will still fall short of that in 2019

NOPD budgeted to add 50 officers to force of 1,233

Chris Miller
November 16, 2018 - 12:36 pm

Can crime in New Orleans be contained with fewer cops? The police chief thinks so, but one crime watchdog is worried the city can't even reach a reduced manpower goal.

Instead of the goal of 1,600 officers, set years ago near the beginning of Mitch Landrieu's first term, New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says the right level now appears to be around 1,400, thanks to hiring more civilians to handle clerical work, and making smarter use of new technology. 

New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche says the chief's probably right, but he's concerned NOPD isn't anywhere near even that reduced goal.

"I haven't seen any progress towards building up the numbers closer to what the new number would be," said Goyeneche. "Whether it's in the 1,375 or 1,450, we haven't made any hiring progress in ten years."

According to NOPD, their current manpower is 1,221, and the 2019 proposed budget seeks to add a net 50 officers by the end of the year.

A department spokesman says attrition rates are at their lowest in 20 years.

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