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Makes Cents: Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOPD Announce New Pay Plan

Ahead of his final State of the City address on Thursday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the launch of a positive initiative for the New Orleans Police Department today. Landrieu and NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison together shared a revamped plan for pay and career advancement within the city’s police department. 


While studies have previously shown that Louisiana is the worst place in the country to be a cop, local leaders are taking actions to improve conditions in New Orleans. Joining Landrieu and Harrison in this initiative are Councilman James Gray, Police Association of New Orleans President Captain Michael Glasser, CEO of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation Melanie Talia, and Donovan A. Livaccari, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police Crescent City Lodge. 


“Public safety has been and remains my top priority,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a statement. “My administration has worked hard to reform the NOPD and increase the resources they have to make each neighborhood safe. I am proud of the hard work they do everyday and am excited that this increased pay and new structure will make our department stronger and better equipped to protect and serve New Orleanians.”


The Landrieu administration has bared the brunt of a massive manpower shortage in local law enforcement. The city has seen a consistent rise in crime over the years, with many pointing fingers at city leaders. According to a May 2017 report from the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the two-year freeze on police hiring, which began when Landrieu took office in 2010, is the source for the stress within the police department. The report stated, “the NOPD’s acute manpower shortage has necessitated that police minimize proactive policing strategies to allow them to respond to calls for service in a more timely manner.”


In a statement included along with the announcement of the new pay plan, Councilman Gray resounded that the NOPD manpower crisis must be overcome in order to better serve officers and community members alike. “We are determined to reduce crime in our city,” he said. “Enlarging the police force is one of the things we need to do to achieve that end. Attracting and retaining police officers is important to our overall crime-fighting strategy.” 


The new plan is just one part of ongoing efforts from city leaders to strengthen and support the NOPD — not only improving immediate quality of life via increased pay, the plan also incentivizes a longterm career in law enforcement. Chief Michael Harrison stated that the plan seeks to "compensate our hard-working men and women in the department appropriately, and to attract and retain the kind of experienced, accomplished police officers we want to be protecting the people of New Orleans.” 


The plan will address four key elements: adjusting pay across the board (from front-line supervisors receiving “Southern regional averages” to 10 percent bumps for entry-level officers); creating “a new career path” for Detectives; fostering more advancement opportunities for patrol officers; and "addressing ‘compression’ problems” in the NOPD’s existing systems. 


This new initiative, said Captain Glasser, is “much more than a simple pay raise for police … It is an aggressive and innovative change in career philosophy.” 


Livaccari agreed, speaking as representative of an organization that oversees 90 percent of active NOPD officers.”The FOP is excited about working with the administration to develop a pay plan that will help solve some of the recruitment and retention issues we currently face,” he said. 


Under the ambitious security plan, the City of New Orleans has made active strides to provide officers with the tools and resources they need while they serve and protect. New technology, such as new computers in patrol units and district stations, as well as the purchase of 300 long rifles and take-home cars for every Orleans Parish patrol officer, are further additions to law enforcement. 


The plan is expected to be presented to the Civil Service Commission and the City Council for approval in the coming weeks.

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