JPSO 95% filled after recent recruiting class

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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WESTWEGO (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has been working on keeping manpower numbers strong. The 24 new deputies who are a part of the 60th graduating class received their badges at a ceremony at the Alario Center on Thursday.

Sheriff Joe Lopinto says that the new faces help fill the vacancies in the department, aside from some positions in the detective bureau and other operations.

“This academy class will get us to about 95% of where our staffing levels are,” Lopinto said. “We have the amount of people that we need on the street.”

Lopinto credits the JPSO’s high manpower on the streets to not only good recruitment but also to paying overtime in order to fill needed positions.

That news comes even though the $53,250 starting pay is less than the neighboring NOPD, which is more than $56,566.

“New Orleans still pays more and they probably do need to pay more,” Lopinto said. “But we are comfortable where our pay plan is right now. The millage being passed by the Jefferson Parish citizens at 74% was a testament of the men and women who are graduating tonight, that the support of the community is really behind them and we have the ability to recruit for the long term and keep our people here.”

The increased staffing also allows for better response times. Right now, the average response is around five minutes in Jefferson Parish according to Lopinto, and around 11 minutes in New Orleans according to NOPD.

That’s welcome news to business owners like John Earhardt.

“The more the better I guess you can say,” Earhardt said.

He owns Southshore Knives, Watches & Clocks which was robbed of around $14,000 worth of merchandise in June. Since then, he hasn’t seen any more offenders after JPSO deputies did a sweep of the area and he added more security measures to his store.

“The recruits, that’s wonderful. And I know they are keeping a lot of their officers in Jefferson Parish. That’s really good too. They’re not losing them,” he said.

And with more graduating classes to come, the new deputies encourage all who want to sign up to do so.

“This is a great profession. It’s more than a career and once you’re in it, you will understand,” deputy Dustin Dalton said. “I think it’s obvious that JPSO is the premier department in the state. No offense to the other departments but this place is everything.”

Lopinto says, as of now, he expects about 20 new recruits in the upcoming class this coming October.

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