NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "It's unacceptable, but the thing that the public needs to know is that this is not a conscious choice by the police department," says Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. He adds that the NOPD response time is far from being standard.
In fact, FOX 8 News and our partners at NOLA.com | The Times Picayune reviewed response times and found that in 2015, the NOPD responded to the scenes of alleged crimes on average, in one hour and 13 minutes.
When you compare response time by year, you can see the difference.
In 2011, the NOPD responded on average in 15 minutes. In 2012, they responded in 13 minutes. It started going up in 2013 to 23 minutes and 46 minutes in 2014. This year, it was 73 minutes.
"Number one, it's unacceptable. I acknowledge that. It's not something we run from," says Chief Michael Harrison.
Goyeneche believes the biggest reason for the long response is the lack of manpower.
"We made a political decision in 2010, not to hire officers for several years so the department plummeted from about 1700 to now 1100 and that includes people who are in the academy in that number, so they're not really out on the streets," says Goyeneche.
"It's not the fault of the Police Chief, this is not him making a bad call," says Councilman-at-Large Jason Williams.
Williams says there's no quick fix, but the council is working to find different ways to make it better, including a push back on the consent decree.
"We tried to convince the federal judge to increase the size of the recruiting class. If we could do that, we can graduate more officers," says Williams.
He says the council also passed the burglar alarm policy to cut down NOPD officers having to respond to false calls.
Williams say there's also discussion about trying to pass a policy that would allow non-commissioned officers to respond to car accidents without injury.
"We've got to start doing things differently in order to get some better results," says Williams.
Goyeneche believes more should be done to restructure current NOPD staffing by using a model from the past.
"We had a centralized detective bureau, so we had a burglary unit at Headquarters, a homicide unit, a robbery unit and a sex offender unit. We've maintained the sex offender unit and the homicide unit, but we've created little detective units in every district, but there's not enough officers to effectively staff that," says Goyeneche.
Goyeneche says now is the time for a centralized detective bureau again.
"I certainly hope we can get it resolved sooner than later. There's no silver bullet to correct it overnight. At the end of the day, we just have to make sure we have enough officers to respond," says Williams.