New Orleans and Louisiana are adding hundreds to their police force amid a staffing crisis.
The New Orleans Police Department is hiring 50 to 75 civilians amid a staffing crisis to reduce the workload on officers and decrease the police response time, NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in a Thursday press conference. Civilians will respond to calls that do not require police presence and answer the phones and take some of the workloads from administrative police officers, and some civilians will be trained to take over detective work, according to Ferguson.
Ferguson stated, “As we get calls over the phone, there might be some evidence to be collected with those calls.” Instead of an officer, civilian investigators will go out to collect the evidence.
According to WDSU 6, not all police calls require officers to respond. These calls can be handled by civilians.
According to WDSU 6, New Orleans was America’s murder capital in the first half of 2022. The number of murders rose by 46% in the past year, and by 141% in 2019.
“The goal of all of this is to make our officers feel safe so that they can make our citizens and visitors feel safe,” Ferguson said. “This is also to reduce some of the workload currently placed on our patrol and district personnel. But more importantly, this is designed to reduce response time and address the backlogs in which we have in some of our districts.”
NOPD did not respond to our request for comment.