NOPD recruit class 176 graduates the academy today adding 34 commissioned officers to the streets of New Orleans. In addition, class 177 will begin on Monday with roughly 33 recruits beginning their training. With the third class of 2016 starting and the fourth set to begin just before the end of the year it is worth reexamining the recruiting figures to see how things are going.
The NOPD recruitment figures for each class since 2013 are available here and put a good deal of context behind the current effort. The recently graduated class 176 lost only 4 of the 39 original recruits which is good for an attrition rate of 10.3 percent. The average since NOPD recruitment restarted has been a 13.5 percent attrition rate, so to lose only 4 people from a large class is pretty good.
So will NOPD hit its goal of 150 new officers in 2016? And, way more importantly, how close will NOPD come to the goal of growing by 60 officers this year?
ASSUMPTIONS TO FOLLOW ALERT:
The first three recruit classes of 2016 have averaged 34.7 recruits so let’s assume the fourth and final class of 2016 brings in 35 recruits. If class 179 brings in 35 recruits then NOPD will have added 139 recruits this year, so for the sake of estimation let’s say NOPD will bring in 130 to 140 recruits in 2016. That’ll be up from the 129 recruits NOPD added in 2015 but still short of the goal of adding 150 new officers.
As an aside, the goal of adding 150 new officers has always been a sort of fuzzy one. If the objective is to gain 150 new commissioned officers in a year and you know that about 10 percent will leave before graduating then the real goal should be adding 165 recruits. Adding 150 recruits will produce about 130 to 135 new officers.
If NOPD brings in 139 new recruits in 2016 and 13.5 percent of them leave before completing training then only 120 recruits will graduate the academy and become commissioned officers. This is an estimate based on assumptions of what the final class will look like and how many recruits will leave during training, so that number could be higher or lower. In addition, the last class of 2016 won’t graduate until the middle of 2017 but we’re counting them as 2016 officers because otherwise things get real complicated real quick.
The final issue to resolve is how much NOPD will grow this year assuming the addition of 120 new officers who became recruits in 2016. To do that we need to figure out what the attrition rate will be. NOPD’s attrition rate has been roughly 9 percent since 1995. That means NOPD will likely lose around 90 to 100 commissioned officers (not counting recruits that don’t finish training) this year to retirement, termination, or other jobs. This is just an estimate but it’s an informed one.
Add it all together and NOPD will likely grow by 20 to 30 officers in 2016 after growing by just under 30 officers in 2015. That’s half of the department’s goal of growing by 60 officers but will represent the second straight year of growth.
We are 10 months into the year and the best guess pegs NOPD’s year end strength at around 1,190 officers. That’s not bad but it highlights the long slog ahead for the department to even hit the 1,400 commissioned officers suggested recently by Berkshire Advisors.