May 1, 2023 - News

NOPD gets jump in out-of-state applications

NOPD applicants by home location
Data: New Orleans City Council; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

The New Orleans Police Department is receiving a jump in out-of-state applicants after the revival of a tried-and-true campaign method: an online job posting.

Why it matters: Every application counts when city and NOPD officials are struggling to bolster the NOPD roster, which numbers at around 920 commissioned officers today.

Out-of-state applications plummeted between mid-February and March before regaining steam in April following the revival of a job posting on Indeed.com.

  • A "technical error" caused a temporary lapse of the posting earlier this year, NOPD public information officer Karen Boudrie tells Axios.

How recruitment works: Both the department and the nonprofit New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation are responsible for recruitment, Boudrie says.

  • While NOPD has viewer access to the Indeed listings, the NOPJF manages the page.
  • Indeed "drives much of the out-of-state applications" for the department, Boudrie says, while its communications team also regularly promotes online job postings from the city website on various social media.
  • NOPD recruiters are trying new and "enhanced" strategies, including partnerships with local and out-of-state universities, remote testing for out-of-state applicants and utilizing bilingual and LGBTQ+ recruiters and liaisons, Boudrie says.
  • Notably, Boudrie says, New Orleans has no residency tenure requirement that someone live in the area for any specific period of time prior to joining the department, which makes it easier to bring in out-of-state hires.

Other city efforts to increase visibility for open NOPD jobs have hit a few potholes.

  • In April, Mayor LaToya Cantrell pulled a $1 million proposal for a public relations campaign to burnish the department’s reputation amid criticism that the nonprofit that would have handled it didn’t have experience with that kind of campaign.
  • Earlier in the year, the NOPJF yanked a 30-second, $27,000 ad featuring various New Orleans characters, including the Rolling Elvi, twerking dancers and Mardi Gras Indians after it received "negative commentary."

By the numbers: City data paints a bleak picture of today's police force size.

  • In the past decade, the NOPD's best year for applicants came in 2017, when 7,440 sought to join its ranks. That year, 96 recruits joined the force.
  • Application numbers have dwindled since then, falling to a record low of 2,590 applicants and 25 recruits hired last year.
  • So far in 2023, just over 1,000 applications have come in the NOPD's door, and 38 recruits have been hired.
  • Of this year's NOPD hires, 76% of applicants came from within the state.

What they're saying: Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst and consultant who works with City Council, says the NOPD should be receiving about twice as many applications as it's currently receiving just to offset attrition.

  • Multiple requests for comment to NOPJF reps went unanswered.
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