Former drug users need not apply -- that was pretty much the standard answer for anyone seeking to become a New Orleans police officer, but not any longer. The Civil Service Commission has made a policy change that they hope will widen the pool of applicants.
These changes are happening here and around the country, even at the federal level, and there is positive reaction from Metro Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche.
''We're going to have to see if these rules identify qualified people to work in the police department,'' said Goyeneche.
Under the new rules, someone who used hard drugs like heroin and cocaine need to have been drug-free for at least ten years. The ban on marijuana and prescription pills is two years. Goyeneche says these changes are realistic.
''They're going to have to change to find qualified officers, so people who in their youth experimented with harder drugs are no longer disqualified,'' Goyeneche said.
The NOPD continues with an aggressive recruiting campaign, trying to hire hundreds of new officers.