Police take recruiting to neighborhoods

Police take recruiting to neighborhoods

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - On a cold but sunny day, Youth Challenge student McDaniel Phillips worked with his friends to plant trees at Sampson park.

"I'm just learning how and it's a good feeling to come out here and help and volunteer our time," says Phillips.

Helping others is something Phillips wants to do when he graduates college.

He's considering a career in law enforcement and organizers of Saturday's NOLA For Life day hope there are more people in the community like the teen.

New Orleans Police set up a recruitment booth so people at the event could apply to join the department.

"We're making this a great place to work by investing in an infrastructure like buying 100 new cars which are on the way," says NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. "30 are being shipped in now, we ordered another 100 that are on the way. 200 more body cameras, we bought 375 more brand new tasers for our officers, brand new computers to put around at all the districts so that they can know that this is a good place to work."

A new recruit class of 30 NOPD hopefuls begins Monday and the class currently in training graduates in March.

It's all an effort to put more uniformed officers on the street, targeting areas like the French Quarter that have seen an increase in violent crimes.

Harrison believes, as the department grows, it's important that neighborhoods be represented by people who live in them.

"That's the community policing concept, that we are part of the community and that those members of the community are part of our police department," says Harrison.

Along with the police recruitment efforts, the city is moving forward with the NOLA Patrol program.

The citizen police force will handle quality-of-life issues, freeing up sworn officers to respond to emergency calls.

"Everybody's got a role in making this city safe," says Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "It really starts in the home, it starts in the schools, it starts with the coaches, it starts with the kids, but at the end of the day, we've got to have a police department that can protect us and police officers that are trained and supervised and that can serve us well too."