NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The city on Wednesday announced proposed changes to the New Orleans Police Department's pay and job classification structure in an effort to increase the number of officers on the street by addressing long-standing retention issues and to incentivize long-term careers on the force.
Since 2010, the NOPD has received a 15 percent across-the-board pay raise, an additional 5 percent pay raise for homicide detectives and has launched 13 new recruit classes adding 334 new officers to the force.
In a news release, the city laid out the following "four key elements" of the new plan:
1) Providing more competitive salaries across the board, to bring compensation for front-line supervisors in line with Southern regional averages. We are adjusting pay for entry-level officers by 10 percent; seasoned officers in the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant will see still larger raises
2) Creating a new career path specifically for Detectives, ensuring that they receive better compensation, and helping NOPD retain seasoned officers with a vital skill set as we work to further improve our clearance and solve rates.
3) Providing more opportunity for advancement for our patrol officers. By eliminating duplicative job descriptions, the plan allows motivated officers to rise more quickly through our ranks--- removing current administrative barriers to higher levels of compensation.
4) Addressing long-standing "compression" problems within the existing pay structure, by rationalizing pay differentials between senior ranks, and incentivizing long-term career investment by veteran officers.
According to LSU criminologist Peter Scharf, New Orleans murders are up by 41 percent over last year. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the pay plan is about rebuilding the NOPD and addressing the increase in crime.
"We are asking the Civil Service and City Council to approve a new pay plan and classification structure that includes increasing pay across the board for all police officers, creating a new detective career track that allows detectives to advance and grow without having to leave their vital detective position."
"The men and women are on the front lines everyday risking their lives, and they represent the best of New Orleans," said Councilman Jared Brossett. "And from what I heard and been briefed, I think this is a part investment."
The mayor said there's also a commitment to provide the NOPD with new take home cars, new long guns and new computers in patrol cars by the end of this year.