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.
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
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.
Cities and Police Departments Near New Orleans
About 3,240 police and sheriff’s patrol officers are employed in the New Orleans metro area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.6 In addition to opportunities with the urban New Orleans Police Department, prospective officers can find opportunities with several local suburban and rural police and sheriff’s departments. The table below compares selected New Orleans-area cities based on police employment and crime data.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population8||Police Dept. Total Employees9||Sworn Officers9||Civilian Staff9||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People10||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People10|
|Kenner||Kenner Police Department (KPD)||67,164||232||167||65||0.29||3.33|
|Metairie||Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO)||138,481||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|New Orleans||New Orleans Police Department (NOPD)||343,829||1,403||1,171||232||1.24||4.53|
|Slidell||Slidell Police Department||28,107||99||67||32||0.37||4.35|
- Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) – The Louisiana POST sets training and eligibility standards for police officers across the state of Louisiana.
- Fraternal Order of Police Crescent City Lodge #2 – This organization provides legal defense, financial support to fallen officers’ families, and other services to active and retired law enforcement members in the New Orleans metro area.
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
8. US Census Bureau, QuickFacts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045218
9. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
10. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6.xls/view