NOPD deals with rising crime, reduced staff and fewer dollars

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Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 2:49 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson says as he deals with rising homicide and carjacking rates, the city’s furlough policy is causing him to lose officers.

The NOPD is being forced to take an $11 million budget cut in the year ahead.

Coronavirus’s impact on city tax revenues has taken a toll on all city departments, especially the NOPD.

“Last week we lost five officers three went to surrounding agencies,” said New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson.

He told the city council that most of those who left last week blamed city imposed furloughs that cause officers to lose two days of pay each month. The furloughs come as the city deals with a 60 percent rise in homicides and a more than 100 percent jump and carjackings.

“We have made some arrests. I can’t make too much comment we have more coming down the line,” Ferguson said.

The department is now once again losing more officers than it hires.

“Last year 2019, we lost 100 officers and hired 109. This year we lost 79 and we only hired 48,” Ferguson said.

And that trend will likely continue in 2021 because the department’s $11 million budget cut will cause recruit classes to shrink and councilmembers worry.

The police chief says 2020 has been an unbelievably tough year.

“Covid, civil unrest, hurricanes. There have been many stressors on our officers but they stay the course,” Ferguson said.

And that course is expected to remain tricky in the year ahead.

While the NOPD is being forced to absorb more cuts, The cost of the consent decree is expected to rise $94,000 in the year ahead due to the increasing cost of video storage and in-car cameras.

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