New Orleans is taking desperate measures to combat its soaring slay rate amid a severe police staffing shortage — including hiring civilians to send out to crime scenes to gather evidence.
Civilians also will replace at least some cops currently on administrative duty so that the officers can head back to the mean streets of the Big Easy — now the murder capital of the US, Fox News reported Sunday.
“The goal is for our officers to feel safe so they can make our citizens and visitors feel safe,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said at a press conference last week, Fox said.
In addition to hiring civilian specialists to monitor phones and perform administrative duties, about 50 to 75 will be enlisted to respond to some minor calls — and even trained to do some detective work, the top cop said.
“As we take calls over the phone, there may be some evidence that needs to be collected with that call,” Ferguson said. “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.”
The moves come after New Orleans recently passed St. Louis as the nation’s murder capital, with a 78% spike in homicides this year as of Sept. 11 and a 121% jump in homicides over 2019, the network reported.
The department, which lost 150 cops from its ranks last year, is urging past police applicants who were rejected to give it another try.
“My message to you,” Ferguson said, “to those of you [who] may have been disqualified in the past, I’m urging you to resubmit your application because some of our hiring criteria have changed.”
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