As the city of New Orleans embarks on a new police recruiting drive, the ones who already earned their badges want to know what's being done to keep them interested in staying on the job.
The NOPD is at a modern-era low in terms of manpower. Police Association of New Orleans attorney Eric Hessler says it's so bad, sometimes officers can't help but violate some departmental polices because they just don't have the people.
He cites as example a departmental policy that spells out who needs to be involved when a cop must investigate a disturbance caused by someone suspected of being mentally ill.
"Where there's a mental patient involved, you have to have four officers and a rank to handle it, as per the policy. Often times, you have two officers and a rank working," said Hessler, leaving officers with the choice of either ignoring the call or violating policy to tray and handle the situation. He says if officers shoe the latter and something goes wrong, they won't get any support from the department's leaders.
Chief Ronal Serpas says they working as hard as they can to get the manpower back up to workable levels.
"We will have 1600 people on this police department," he said during the announcement of phase two of their recruitment drive. "We will do this every single day until we get there."
Video of the NOPD recruiting announcement:
Officers also complain their pay hasn't increased in years, and because of increases in withholding for their health plan and other items, the amount they take home has only gotten smaller. Serpas says they are addressing that, too.
"We restarted...the police officer promotion system," the chief said. "More than 400 police officers have been receiving...pay raises."