Chief Harrison hopes to bring add 150 officers in 2016

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After a blistering report on slow response times, the city's police chief laid out his plan for next year.

Superintendent Harrison is calling for 150 new recruits and online crime reporting, among other things, in 2016.

Just days after a scathing Lee Zurik and Times-Picayune investigation into average police response time, the council is concerned about citizen complaints.

"Due to a technical issue with 911 that armed robbery turned into a sexual assault, because she didn't get to 911," said City Council member Jason Williams.

To tackle the problem, Chief Harrison wants taxpayers to give him more money than ever before: $160 million. His goal will be to bring the force up to 1260 officers.

To recruit the officers he needs, the chief plans to pay current officers $4000 for every new officer he or she recruits.

"We've made great progress, but we realize we have a very long way to go," Harrison said.

The chief told the council that in spite of problems, there's much to be optimistic about.  Officers will get $6,000 more next year.  The department will have 630 new body cameras and he's speeding up the civil service testing process. The police department says it's committed to improving dismal response times, it will hire 150 new recruits next year, and will utilize new technology wherever possible.

"I don't think anyone is satisfied with where we are," said City Council member Stacy Head. "I think the chief is on the right track, getting officers onto the street as fast as possible."

The NOPD wants to purchase 20 license plate reading systems, similar to those in Jefferson parish as well and improve the department's online crime reporting system to free up officers from crimes that don't require an officer on scene immediately.

"Property crimes that don't require a police response..theft...simple burglaries," Harrison said.

Police manpower, appears to be improving, but clearly there are still problems, especially in the east.

"We're still way of of line with response times," said New Orleans East Council member James Gray.

But the chief remains focused on rebuilding a depleted department with council support of next year's budget request.

The council is expected to approve the budget request, by the end of November.

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