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City approves NOPD pay raise but must secure funds to pay for it

6th November 2017   ·   0 Comments

The New Orleans City Council late last month approved an ambitious new pay raise plan which will also see a partial restructuring of the NOPD. But while police are praising the plan, the money is not yet secure.

Attrition has been one of the major stumbling blocks in boosting the ranks of the NOPD for nearly a decade, but that may be about to change. The New Orleans City Council has approved a 10 percent police pay raise plan that will increase pay for a “Police Officer 1,” as Civil Service calls it, from $42,400 a year to nearly $46,900. Sergeant pay would be raised from $54,400 to nearly $63,200 year. Captain’s pay would increase from $68,900 a year to $77,000.

“This is overdue, but I’m glad we’re getting it done,” At-Large Councilman Jason Williams said.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu made it official on Tuesday, Oct. 31, when he signed the NOPD pay-raise ordinance at City Hall.

The mayor was joined at the signing ceremony by NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison, who said that the pay hike puts the department on equal footing with “comparable peer cities” across the South.

FOX 8 News reported that the new plan also provides incentives for officers to get college degrees. It calls for a restructuring of the department, setting up detective and patrol divisions that keep good patrol officers on patrol and good detectives investigating crime without having to be transferred to get a raise.

“All of the officers will get a pay raise, patrol positions will be consolidated,” Harrison said. “We’ve created a new corporal position with a 10 percent raise for it, and a 10 percent raise for all detectives.”

Unfortunately, the funding for the pay raise is not in the bank yet, and it’s tied to what’s taking place at the foot of Poydras Street.

“There is no funding stream that’s certain right now,” said Councilwoman Stacy Head.

The $9.2 million a year needed to fund the raises won’t be realized until a deal to redevelop the World Trade Center is approved by the board of the World Trade Center. Some worry that the board won’t let the money go, but the Landrieu administration is optimistic.

“We are confident we can effectuate it and move those funds to the city,” Deputy Mayor Jeff Hebert told FOX 8 News.

If all goes as planned, the raises will go into effect on Christmas Eve.

“By announcing this raise, we’ve already seen a 20 percent slowing of attrition,” Harrison said.

NOPD and city officials have said that could go a long way towards helping the undermanned department reach long-elusive staffing goals.

Harrison said since he began running the department, officers have been approved for 25 percent pay raises.

The new pay plan also provides incentives for officers to attend college.

This article originally published in the November 6, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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