Today Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison announced proposed changes to the department’s pay and job classification structure, specifically designed to increase the number of officers on the street by addressing long-standing retention issues and to incentivize long-term careers on the force.
This effort is the latest by the Landrieu administration to strengthen the NOPD and increase the number of officers protecting neighborhoods. Since 2010, the NOPD has received a 15-percent across the board pay raise; an additional 5-percent pay raise for homicide detectives; and has launched 13 new recruit classes adding a total of 334 new officers to the force. The four key elements of this proposed pay and job classification plan are as follows:
1) Providing more competitive salaries across the board, to bring compensation for front-line supervisors in line with Southern regional averages. We are adjusting pay for entry-level officers by 10 percent; seasoned officers in the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant will see still larger raises
2) Creating a new career path specifically for Detectives, ensuring that they receive better compensation, and helping NOPD retain seasoned officers with a vital skill set as we work to further improve our clearance and solve rates.
3) Providing more opportunity for advancement for our patrol officers. By eliminating duplicative job descriptions, the plan allows motivated officers to rise more quickly through our ranks--- removing current administrative barriers to higher levels of compensation.
4) Addressing long-standing “compression” problems within the existing pay structure, by rationalizing pay differentials between senior ranks, and incentivizing long-term career investment by veteran officers.
“Public safety has been and remains my top priority,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “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.”
“We believe this new pay plan is the best way forward 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,” said Chief Michael Harrison. “I am grateful to Mayor Landrieu for giving our team the resources we need to strengthen the department and better serve the community. In the weeks ahead, we will be bringing the full details of the plan before the Civil Service Commission and the City Council to seek their approval.”
Councilman James Gray said: “We are determined to reduce crime in our city. 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 proposed new pay structure has the full backing and support of all three police unions.
Captain Michael Glasser, president of the Police Association of New Orleans, said: “The Police Association of New Orleans is pleased to stand with the Superintendent in support of a new Pay Plan for the NOPD that we have both worked diligently to develop. This plan is much more than a simple pay raise for police....it is an aggressive and innovative change in career philosophy that will significantly diminish attrition, improve morale, and encourage recruitment to the benefit of public safety citywide. It is a long-term step in the revitalization and future success of the NOPD in serving the public needs for safety and security.”
Donovan A. Livaccari, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police Crescent City Lodge, said: "As the representative organization for over 90 percent of all 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."
Melanie Talia, CEO of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, voiced the support of their organization as well: “The proposed NOPD compensation plan and classification structure is designed to bolster recruiting and retention initiatives through competitive salaries and opportunities for career growth and development. We fully support the initiative, making our law enforcement and public safety priority one.”
The new pay plan is one part of ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the NOPD. Department leadership has given officers the technology and tools they need to provide superior services for our citizens, including the purchase of 300 long rifles for potential engagement with an active shooter, and take-home cars for every patrol officer residing in Orleans Parish. New computers in patrol units, as well as at police headquarters and each district station, represent substantial infrastructure investments, and the new pay plan is part of that strategy.
The administration's citywide security plan, announced earlier this spring, is moving ahead. Crime cameras have begun going up in hot spots selected by NOPD district commanders for maximum impact, and new license plate readers are being installed over the summer. The False Alarm initiative, which went live on May 1, has freed up NOPD officers to dedicate more manpower to the crucial work of protecting the public.
This summer, the NOPD is partnering with fellow law enforcement agencies to expand its deployment. The Louisiana State Police will be expanding its work with the department to take part in proactive patrols in neighborhoods across the city.
The new pay plan is part of the NOPD's commitment to getting its officers every resource they need to ensure the safety and security of citizens of and visitors to New Orleans, and not only attract - but retain - the very best men and women for the job.