NOPD manpower shortage continues; administration hopes bonus plan will stop it

“While a fiscal component will certainly help, it isn’t the fiscal component that’s driving cops away,” said Michael Glasser, President of the Police Association of New Orleans.
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 4:33 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department continues to face a serious manpower shortage, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration hopes to stymie the loss of officers with a 5-year bonus plan. But the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) said the problem isn’t money.

Under Mayor Cantrell’s plan, the city would pay out $5,000 bonuses to recruits who successfully complete training. Current officers would receive a tiered bonus: $5,000 for officers with five years or less in the department, increasing by increments of $5,000 for every five years an officer has been with the department.

“Initial steps required going before the Civil Service Commission, which considered six of our proposals and moved forward with three of them on Feb. 21,” says Beau Tidwell, the mayor’s Director of Communications.

“After addressing requested follow-up items from the commission, the administration has requested that Civil Service call a special meeting to again consider the retention pay item, which will authorize payments of up to $20,000 for experienced police officers who stay on the force for another year,” Tidwell continued.

Michael Glasser, President of PANO, says while he would support more pay for officers, money is not causing the attrition. He says that as officers leave, PANO tries to talk with them about their reason for leaving the department.

“None of them say the money is the problem,” Glasser says. “They all complain about the things that are the non-fiscal issues, and those are the things that we talk about... that I’ve talked to the city council about.”

Glasser says the issue, while complex, can be traced to what he calls an overzealous Public Integrity Bureau (PIB), a poor promotional system, and restrictions placed on officers by the department’s Consent Decree.

He says that as long as the city fails to act on those problems, NOPD will continue to bleed officers.

“I don’t think cops are going to wait around a year to see if they’re going to get a bonus,” Glasser says. “If they do and they collect one, I think they’ll collect their bonus and leave.”

NOPD is down 180 officers since the start of the last year, according to Glasser. This year so far, the department has lost 34 officers.

“Being committed and looking into something is not the same as doing something. If you want to stop the attrition, you have to show some genuine effort right now that you’re actually going to do something. And those things don’t cost anything,” he says.

The manpower issue has resulted in parade routes being shortened and federal partners coming in to assist.

“We have lots of promises that have never been kept. This again is another promise. I don’t doubt that their intentions are good, but a lot can happen,” Glasser says.

Tidwell says the Civil Service Commission is moving forward with three of the Mayor’s six proposals for “retention and recruitment.” They’ve requested a special meeting of the Civil Service Commission take place next week.

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