The Police Department for the city of New Orleans has ended up needing to hire on groups of civilians in order to deal with the horrendous staffing issues as it is dealing with a currently raging streak of violent crime sweeping across the city.
Laura Rodrigue, a mayoral candidate for New Orleans, issued a series of concerns as she took part in a Tuesday interview on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends First.”
“Resorting to hiring civilians to respond to crime scenes is alarming to the residents and should be alarming throughout the country,” stated Rodrigue. “They came out and said that civilians will be responding to non-emergency calls that come in through 911.”
It was highlighted by Rodrigue that well over 100 calls into the city for alleged rape were being classified as non-emergency over the last year.
“The problem with that is within the last year, NOPD received over 100 calls for first-degree rape, first-degree rape being the most serious rape in Louisiana, carrying a mandatory life sentence, and they classified those as non-emergency,” she expressed.
“So that should be alarming to people to think that a case or a call that comes in for something serious could be classified as non-emergency,” Rodrigue went on.
Reportedly, the police department lost well over 150 this past year. The drop has ended up forcing the city to turn to civilians in its attempts to deal with the non-emergency calls and take over administrative roles.
The department has also ended up pulling back various requirements needed to enlist in the city’s civilian program, which included regulations against prior marijuana usage. Credit scores will also no longer be considered as part of the process for hiring. However, a normal, standard drug test still remains a requirement.
The NOPD is seeking to bring in up to 75 civilian workers to deal with selected calls, all according to a press conference held Thursday by Shaun Ferguson, a superintendent for the city police.
“As we take calls over the phone, there may be some evidence that needs to be collected with that call,” explained Ferguson. “We’ll have civilian investigators to go out and collect that evidence instead of an officer having to go out there and collect that evidence.”
To go along with the new civilian program, quite a few officers are forced to work 12-hour shifts, resulting in even more strain on the currently working officers and possibly discouraging recruits from coming in, as reported by WDSU News.