NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Eight months after a scathing report on slow police response times, police leaders reported progress Monday.
New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison said code 2 - or high priority case - response times have been cut by 40 percent due to a number of measures, but he still wants more.
It's an improvement over a FOX 8 report last year.
"They called the police then, and stayed here for about 10 to 11 hours, and no one ever came." said crime victim Brock Laborde.
Last year it was reported that the average police response time was 73 minutes, with some cases taking much longer. But now, the NOPD says things are improving.
"Our code 2 responses [are] on a steady downward trajectory. In the past eight months, they've fallen by 40 percent," Harrison said.
The reductions were achieved, in part, by hiring enough recruits to beat high attrition. They have also replaced nearly two dozen officers with civilians.
"We are nearly complete and expect to have the final hires announced in three days," Harrison told the City Council.
The NOPD also began a five-platoon system to cover manpower gaps exposed by the old three-platoon system. It's also using computers in new and creative ways.
"Electronic warrant system to keep officers from having to go to judges," said Harrison.
But actual online reporting of crime remains elusive.
"This particular project has taken way too long," said Councilwoman Stacey Head.
Council members blasted the police department for moving too slowly on a contract to allow citizens to report crime via home computers. Also, beginning Monday, the department is shutting down district station houses between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
"We found only one officer was getting a call every other night," said Harrison.
Though success is evident, the chief wants more.
"We continue to work toward 7-minute response," said Harrison.
And he's hoping with new recruit classes and new online reporting, an officer will arrive at your door much quicker than they did in the past.
The NOPD said average code 2 response times are now 12 minutes, 47 seconds. Code 2 is considered an emergency call with no sirens or lights required. Harrison said the department is also allowing some officers who live too far from police fuel depots to use credit cards to purchase gas closer to their homes. He said that will save hundreds of man hours as he continues to attempt new deployment strategies to boost service.