Pay Bills

Board committee advances NOPD compensation plan calling for annual increases for officers, discusses GDP actions

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — A daunting task awaits the New Orleans City Council: to stop the depletion of NOPD ranks and to tackle the city’s continuing rise in violent crime.

At a Tuesday meeting of the Criminal Justice Committee, council members heard from representatives of the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) on the key issues they believe are at the root of the agent attrition: disciplinary action against agents by the Public Integrity Bureau (PIB) and compensation .

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is currently facing a manpower crisis. Publicly data available shows just over 1,000 officers in the NOPD force, with PANO saying the number is around 900 once you factor in officers under investigation or reservists.

The depleted force has led to longer response times, with average response times hovering around two hours, average NOPD response times of two hours, force at extremely low personnel levels, data analysts say , and some Irish Channel burglary victims waiting until 3 or 4 p.m. for police to show up. Victims waited hours for police to show up in two separate Irish TV burglaries, blaming a lack of resources due to the festival.

In March, Mayor LaToya Cantrell proposed a bonus plan to improve retention and recruitment, promising new NOPD recruits a one-time bonus of $5,000, with higher bonuses based on years of service. The bounties would repeat every five years. The Public Service Commission approves the administration’s bonus plan for first responders.

But PANO criticized the plan and proposed its own compensation plan on Tuesday: a 2% annual increase in all areas.

“This is an opportunity for officers to get a raise they can calculate and count on and count on every year,” said Mike Glasser, president of PANO. “Every year they know that next year we’re going to earn a little bit more to offset inflation, to offset rising prices, which they know and can count on.”

“It’s not a promise, it’s not an expectation, it’s not based on whether or not we get revenue next year,” Glasser added. “It’s something they can count on and it’s pensionable. They know that at the end of the year, this money is also used to calculate their overall pension.

At present, the bonus plan has been approved by the Civil Service Commission and has been forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for review of its legality. Glasser said not only was the legality of the plan questionable, but there was nothing holding back a department officer once he received the bounty.

Council member JP Morrell seemed to agree.

“If the mayor’s plan is approved and we hand out five thousand, 10,000, 20,000, $30,000 in bonuses, there’s nothing, statute or ordinance, that prevents an officer from taking this as a retirement. early or move to another department,” Morell said.

Glasser said that, in this case, it would become a “separation” plan, rather than a retention plan.

Board member Lesli Harris introduced a bill codifying PANO’s proposed annual increase plan. His bill was approved by the committee and will now go to the full council for discussion.

According to PANO, New Orleans firefighters already receive an annual raise, which they negotiated with the city through collective bargaining.

“The city administration goes to the civil service every year, writes a simple letter saying whether or not they have the funds or don’t have the funds,” said Claude Schlesinger of the Fraternal Order of Police. “For the past few years, the administration has said, ‘We can’t afford it.'”

Council members also discussed a request by PANO to open a GDP investigation, alleging shortcomings in the way the office oversees agent investigations.

Glasser said GDP investigators have been known to fabricate evidence, mislead in their statements or omit evidence.

NOPD Deputy Leader Arlinda Westbrook, who oversees GDP, defended her department, saying several reforms have been put in place at GDP to address the concerns of some of the officers. She said the GDP complied with the federal consent decree and worked to ensure the effects of discipline did not affect officers who had done nothing wrong.

A bill by council member Lesli Harris to limit the time the GDP can leave officers under investigation and mandate the rotation of GDP supervisors has been postponed, with council members agreeing more time is needed to decide whether a GDP survey should be opened.

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