As the NOPD continues to bolster its ranks with applicants looking to serve their community, the department’s new recruiting leader is taking on the responsibility of spearheading the drive to bring the best possible applicants into the field of law enforcement.
Leatrice Latimore serves in the department’s newly created role as recruitment and applicant investigation administrator. In this position, she not only directs the department’s recruiting programs and campaigns, but also works to ensure that applicants follow the proper processes on their path to hopefully becoming NOPD officers.
Latimore joined the NOPD just after its newest class of 25 recruits, Class 181, began at the department’s training academy, which recently moved into the former Third District station on Paris Avenue. The recruits joined the 24 recruits in Class 180, which is currently set to graduate in December.
While the NOPD has seen many applicants come from out of state looking to join the ranks over the years, Latimore said that she is also keeping a focus on finding quality local candidates as well. She added that one of her main goals is to ensure that the department’s recruiting division is “working smarter” in terms of outreach, testing and applicant investigations.
“We want to be able to streamline our processes, while continuing to work with existing markets both local and non-local and also expanding into untapped markets,” she said. “In addition, we want to be able to reach even more local recruits, as opposed to just having candidates come in from out of state.”
Before coming to the NOPD in late August, Latimore worked in admissions and recruitment for Southern University at New Orleans for approximately 17 years.
“I served as assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, where I was responsible for the offices of recruitment and admissions, financial aid, and student retention,” she said. “In addition, I was responsible for developing the university's recruitment and retention plans. We wanted to make sure we were bringing in enough students, while also ensuring that these students moved through their degree plans and graduated.”
Latimore said that her experiences from recruiting in higher education can serve her well in the world of law enforcement recruiting, but that there will be new experience and challenges that she looks forward to facing.
“I think some of the challenges that come with this position include finding the best markets from which to find our candidates,” she said, “In higher education, I was able to just find a place and develop those relationships with high schools. With the NOPD, we cannot accept an applicant until they reach the age of 20, so that slightly changes the target demographic we look at in terms of recruitment.”
The department’s “Get Behind the Badge” recruiting campaign is one that Latimore said she feels resonates within the community and shows that being a law enforcement officer is not just about having a job, but embarking on a rewarding career.
“I definitely like the message of ‘Get Behind the Badge,’ because it’s a call for those who feel they have what it takes to serve their community,” she said. “Not everybody can do it. We’re looking for the best of the best to join the best police department in the country.”
The city’s goal of bringing in 150 new recruits per year is something Latimore said would help the department bring its numbers back to where it had been in previous years.
“Everything that we do on a daily basis here is designed to help meet that goal,” she said. “From the very first time an applicant walks through the door, we work to make sure they receive the best possible customer service.
For more information on how to join the NOPD, visit www.joinnopd.org or call the NOPD Recruitment Division at 504-658-5575.