NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In a recent Lee Zurik Investigation with our partners at NOLA.com | The Times Picayune, we discovered that on average, it takes the NOPD one hour and 13 minutes to respond to a dispatched call. That's nearly four times longer than it took the NOPD in 2011, when it was just 15 minutes.
"It's not where I want it to be now," said NOPD Chief Michael Harrison. "It was not where I wanted it to be the day I became the chief."
City leaders acknowledge that the NOPD response time is unacceptable.
"We've lost 400 police officers, so now we're doing the work of a department that used to be at 1,500," Harrison said.
While the significant reduction of manpower is clearly an issue, Harrison admits the federal consent decree is also a contributing factor.
"There are issues within the consent decree that makes us have to do more," he said.
"The good news about the consent decree is that it requires us to do things in a more transparent and professional way. The downside is that it is labor intensive," PANO President Mike Glasser said.
Glasser said administrative work tied to the consent decree is slowing officers down every day.
"There are constantly new forms and more complicated forms. The body-worn cameras - people think that they are just turned on and we take a movie. That's not the case, absolutely not," Glasser said.
It's not just the mechanics of this new type of policing that take up officers time.
"On domestic violence calls, there are a number of things that we do now that we didn't use to do that makes us take a lot longer," Harrison said.
Glasser said the majority of time spent in roll call used to be about crime patterns and intelligence.
"It's now flipped. Very rarely do we hear about crime. The entire roll call is consumed with, here's a new form, people are not filling out the old forms correctly and disciplinary action is going to result if you're not filling this one out," Glasser said.
Harrison said the department is working to move some of the workload away from officers.
"So, we are right now working with the consent decree monitor to identify tasks that we can move away that could be done by a civilian or not done at all in a way that doesn't negatively affect the consent decree so that we can improve those response times," Harrison said.
Harrison is hoping a new online reporting system for property crimes will be operating soon. He believes that will help to free up more officers.