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NOPD pay hike gets backing of City’s Civil Service Commission

16th October 2017   ·   0 Comments

The New Orleans Civil Service Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a measure that will mean pay raises for most NOPD officers and will likely help the undermanned police department to attract a larger number of recruits.

NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison said Tuesday that in addition to aiding the department’s recruitment efforts the pay hike would also likely improve veteran retention numbers.

“We’re putting our attention on the people in the middle with the most experience,” Harrison explained.

Under the proposed plan, inexperienced NOPD officers would receive a 10.45 percent boost in pay, raising their annual salaries to almost $46,000. Three classifications of more experienced officers would be lumped together into a single “senior police officer” category that would boost their pay to $51,800, a boost between five and 16 percent depending on those officers’ current rank.

A new rank of corporal would be created that would pay officers an annual salary of $57,200 and require them to take on some added supervisory responsibilities. Harrison estimated that about 80 officers would fall into that category.

Finally, officers ranked from sergeant to major would receive pay hikes between 6.4 and 19 percent.

If approved by the New Orleans City Council, the new NOPD pay plan, that would give most officers’ pay a boost from five to 10 percent depending on their rank, could go into effect as early as December.

However, not everyone involved is happy with the proposed pay hike, which would cost the City of New Orleans $9.2 million a year.

Donovan Livaccari, a spokesman and attorney for the New Orleans chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), said that while the plan is “not perfect,” the FOP supports it.

“We’ve been in the midst of a manpower crisis for some time now (which) impacts every aspect of this police department,” Livaccari said Tuesday. “Anything that we can do to get this moving is moving in the right direction.”

While the plan is being heralded for more evenly distributing pay raises across NOPD ranks, it has also been criticized for how it will impact some groups like detectives.

Michael Glasser, president of the Police Association of New Orleans, said in a Facebook post that the new pay plan would mean that officers without a college education or who are not interested in taking on supervisory roles will learn that their “career has peaked” at the second rank on the scale.

The plan would also negatively impact homicide detectives and Special Victims Unit detectives, who would find themselves without a promotional path for those who want to investigate crimes without taking on supervisory roles.

PANO attorney Eric Hessler pointed out that the CSC approved the pay plan before it could review the results of a full study of NOPD salaries by an outside firm, which is only weeks away from being completed.

“We’re not 100 percent sure what the circumstances are because we don’t have the information we paid taxpayer money to find out,” Hessler said.

This article originally published in the October 16, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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