NOPD moving officers from desk to street

NOPD moving officers from desk to street

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police will restructure the department following the 2016 Mardi Gras season in an effort to increase patrols and decrease lagging response times.

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said the department would move 94 officers from their current duties onto the street.

The officers currently work desk jobs, filing clerical paperwork, or work on the department's fleet as mechanics.

"We're taking officers from one set of duties and putting them back to citizen's calls for service. We get it, you asked for the help, you asked for the officers, you wanted more officers, now we're giving them to you," Harrison said.

"By adding 94 officers answering citizen's calls, we want them to specifically answer citizen's calls, so that we can be more visible, deter more crime, prevent crime, and apprehend people who commit it," Harrison said.

Ed Quatrevaux, New Orleans Inspector General, is pleased with the changes, but said his office recommended the move back in 2014.

In a report completed by the IG's office two years ago, investigators found that only 21-percent of the NOPD actually patrolled the streets in 2013 and found several officers performing duties you wouldn't think a police officer would do.

"We found them in IT, we found them in public records, doing administrative duties, we found them repairing cars, there's an administrative sergeant in every district, so 24 of those, we didn't think that was necessary," Quatrevaux said.

Now the department plans to hire civilians to take over those positions, so the police can do police work.

"We spent a lot of money and time training these guys and we need them on the streets, we don't need them in the IT department," Quatrevaux said.

Chief Harrison said the department would also hire part-time officers for the first time, looking for commissioned officers who retired and want to continue working.

The changes begin after Mardi Gras.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.