Recruitment and Retention: Lessons for the New Orleans Police Department

Recruitment and Retention: Lessons for the New Orleans Police Department

Recruitment and Retention: Lessons for the New Orleans Police Department

Recruitment and Retention: Lessons for the New Orleans Police Department

Synopsis

This study presents recommendations to improve recruiting and retention in the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). The recommendations, tailored to the unique circumstances of the NOPD, include using civilian employees for some jobs now performed by officers; developing a proactive recruiting program; providing housing; increasing the frequency of promotion examinations; eliminating the backlog of promotions; restructuring compensation; establishing a first-responders charter school; and rebuilding the police infrastructure.

Excerpt

Hurricane Katrina and its consequent persistent flooding largely disabled the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and other first responders in the city. The police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations were engulfed themselves, becoming as much victims of the storm as the people of New Orleans whom they were responsible for helping. Since the hurricane, the NOPD has suffered from unusually high rates of departure from the force and an inability to recruit new officers.

The Superintendent of Police of the City of New Orleans asked the RAND Corporation for help in addressing the recruiting and retention problems facing his department and for any suggestions on how to improve the current situation. RAND agreed to try to help and to apply insights gained from decades of working with large governmental organizations on ways to improve the management of their personnel systems, most extensively with the U.S. Department of Defense, but more recently with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and several municipal police departments. Initial results, consisting of practical suggestions for change that should help the NOPD improve recruiting and retention, were briefed to the Superintendent and, at his request, to the Mayor of New Orleans and members of the City Council. This report expands upon the briefings and provides a more detailed treatment of the recommendations presented to these senior officials. The topics covered in this report and the specific recommendations presented are based upon the unique situation in which the NOPD found itself at the end of 2006. Specifically, the issues addressed . . .

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