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How to Become a Police Officer in New Orleans

New Orleans has a population of nearly 390,000 people and is a major tourist destination.1 However, New Orleans also has a higher violent and property crime rates than comparable metro areas, with a murder rate that is also much higher than the murder rates found in similarly-sized metros.2 To support its efforts to reduce crime, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) employs over 1,200 sworn officers and civilians and is continually recruiting qualified new officers. Men and women wishing to become a part of the New Orleans Police Department will find information on the application, selection, and training process below.

New Orleans Police Officer Requirements

The New Orleans Police Department seeks highly-qualified men and women to join its ranks. To become an NOPD law enforcement officer, candidates must:

  • Be 20 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have been honorably discharged from the military, if a veteran
  • Not have used marijuana within the past two years and not have used any other illegal drug within the past 10 years
  • Have no felony convictions, misdemeanors involving sexual offenses, nor any offenses involving the violation of civil rights
  • Possess a valid driver’s license with a satisfactory driving record

The NOPD hiring process begins with submitting an online application followed by walk-in testing that is conducted at 9:30 AM each weekday morning in the Civil Service Department. All candidates must take physical agility, multiple choice, and writing skills tests. Hopeful cops who pass the initial exams will be invited to a panel interview, which for successful candidates will be followed by a urinalysis, background investigation, and medical and psychological exams. Top-performing candidates will be invited to attend an upcoming police academy class as NOPD recruits.

For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a city like New Orleans, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. For more recruitiment information, visit the NOPD’s recruitment page.

The Superintendent of the NOPD is Michael S. Harrison. Superintendent Harrison has been with the department for over 27 years and was promoted to superintendent in 2014. Superintendent Harrison has worked through the ranks and has served as a detective in narcotics, sergeant in the Eighth District, commander of the Special Investigations Division, and commander of the Seventh District. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix and a master’s in criminal justice from Loyola University.

New Orleans Police Training Academy

NOPD recruits attend the New Orleans Police Training Academy for 26 weeks comprising over 886 clock hours of training.3 The police academy facilities were significantly renovated in 2017 and include 24,000 square feet of training spaces. Training topics covered in the police academy include firearms, investigations, law, patrol activities, and the use of force. Police academy graduates typically undergo further field training with an experienced officer before being assigned to solo patrol.

New Orleans Police Department Information

The New Orleans Police Department is comprised of six bureaus and eight districts. Each of the NOPD’s eight districts is led by a commander. After gaining experience in patrol, New Orleans cops can work in a multitude of specialized units, which include the bomb disposal unit, the extradition unit, tactical platoons, and the violent offender warrant squad.

For the past several years, New Orleans has been near the top of the list of America’s most dangerous cities due to its murder rate. Since 2013, the city has had more shooting incidents per 100,000 people than Baltimore or Chicago, cities that are often in the news for gun violence.4 The murder rate in New Orleans, at 20.3 per 100,000 residents, is the third-highest in the nation, behind only Baltimore and St. Louis.4 To combat this alarming trend, the New Orleans Police Department is working to hire enough new recruits to push the NOPD’s sworn force above 1,600 officers by 2020.5

To involve the community in fighting crime, every police district has at least one assigned Quality of Life officer. These officers provide a connection between the community and police department and direct citizens to the correct city department when assistance is needed. In addition, The NOPD has a Citizen’s Police Academy for city residents over the age of 21. In this eight-week academy, citizens will gain a better understanding of operations of the police department. Topics that are covered in the Citizen’s Academy include communication, community service programs, and public integrity.

Department Contact Information

1300 Perdido St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 821-2222
NOPD Website
NOPD Facebook
NOPD Twitter

Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook

Cops working for the NOPD earn an annual starting salary of $40,391 while in training; after one year of service, the salary is $56,566 per year.4 Officers with a bachelor’s degree receive an additional $2,000 per year incentive.4 All New Orleans cops receive benefits including access to a home-buying assistance program, free life insurance, health insurance, and generous paid leave. Officers are also able to participate in a pension plan as well as optional deferred compensation plans to save for retirement.

More than 3,800 cops are employed in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area, where they earn an average annual salary of $40,750.6 The number of cops in the state of Louisiana is projected to increase by 8.9% through 2026.7 The number of new law enforcement officers ultimately hired largely depends on the city’s budget and the number of police officers who retire during the year.

To view open listings for police officers in New Orleans, visit our jobs board page.

Additional Resources

References:
1. Sperling’s Best Places, New Orleans, LA: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/louisiana/new_orleans
2. US News & World Report Best Places to Live, New Orleans, LA: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/louisiana/new-orleans/crime
3. New Orleans Police Department: https://www.nola.gov/nopd/
4. The New Orleans Advocate, “How Bad is New Orleans’ Surge of Shootings, Violence in 2017? Here Are 5 Eye-opening Facts,” 4 June 2017: https://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/crime_police/article_9be6ce22-4973-11e7-8461-4780447f55a6.html
5. NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, “Why New Orleans Still Doesn’t Have Enough Police Officers,” 6 Apr. 2018: https://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2018/04/why_new_orleans_still_doesnt_h.html
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Orleans-Metairie: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_35380.htm
7. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm