By: Kristen Swiger
Having enough officers on the police force to give an entire community peace of mind can be difficult, but the New Orleans Police Department is trying to make it happen.
Chief Ronal Serpas of NOPD recently introduced the idea of community empowerment, which involves walking teams of officers going door-to-door to ask residents what they can do for them to make them feel safer.
“Let’s build some community resource, let’s build some community empowerment, let’s build some community relationship with the police department, as opposed to just simply the aggressive police work,” Serpas said.
The program will occur three days a week, four hours a day, but the question of how many officers the police force can afford to put on duty is another matter. Commander Henry Dean said that they could use as many officers as they can get. “With the personal that we have in place and the units we have in place, we’re beginning to be stretched a little bit thin,” he said.
The police force is down 153 officers from last year, but some say that the decision to add more officers should come after crime rates are studied with the addition of new technology. However, waiting too long could be deadly.
“The answer to our problems is a constant, consistent flow of people in here,” said Dean.