Today, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation (NOPJF) and the University of New Orleans (UNO) announced the start of the newest police recruit class and unveiled a new state-of-the-art facility at UNO where the 33 recruits will begin their training. As part of a new public-private partnership, Class #173, future recruit classes and current officers will begin training at the UNO Research & Technology Park. The move provides the department with a modern and high-quality training facility while the current Training Academy undergoes remodeling over the next two years.
"We made a commitment to rebuild and redesign the way we recruit, hire and train our officers, and this new partnership is an incredible step forward toward that goal," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. "The facility at UNO instantly provides more room to train, larger classroom space, and technology upgrades that will give our instructors and recruits the resources they need to be successful. This new partnership is just one more example of how the public, private and non-profit sectors are working together to grow and rebuild this department."
"One of the best ways to help change the culture of violence in New Orleans is by becoming a NOPD officer," said Mayor Landrieu. "With the loss of Officer Daryle Holloway this weekend, we are more aware than ever of the sacrifice our officers make every day to keep our community safe. I am grateful to the men and women of recruit class #173 who are answering the call of duty and stepping up to join the ranks of our city's dedicated heroes in blue. These recruits will join the ranks of officers who are being held to higher standards— better trained, better equipped and housed in state-of-the-art facilities. Public safety remains our top priority, and we will continue to aggressively recruit and retain officers as we build a safer, more prosperous New Orleans."
Under the two-year agreement, the City will lease the UNO Lindy C. Boggs International Conference Center at an annual cost of $160,000. The facility includes two large classrooms, an amphitheater with the ability to seat 100 and an auditorium with the ability to seat 300. With a total of 16,000 square feet of work space, it will be a significant expansion from the current NOPD Training Academy located on Paris Avenue. The facility will house all recruit training and in-service training for current NOPD officers with the exception of driving and shooting range training.
"The University of New Orleans is pleased to welcome the police academy to the Lindy Boggs International Conference Center on our campus," said UNO President Peter J. Fos. "The University is committed to its role as a community asset, and we are happy to help accommodate the needs of the New Orleans Police Department so it can continue the essential work of training its future officers."
The NOPJF played a major role in securing the new facility.
"It is critically important for our new police recruits to have the highest quality learning environment possible," said New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation Board Chairman Bob Brown. "The move into the UNO Research & Technology Park will be a terrific enhancement to their training experience."
"This is a unique moment in time in which the University's need for funding is coupled with the New Orleans Police Department's urgent need for housing its police academy," said Richard Haase, Board Member of UNO's Research and Technology Foundation and the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation. "This partnership between the NOPD and UNO is an outstanding example of public-private partnerships in action."
The City anticipates breaking ground on an estimated $2.4 million project to renovate the NOPD Third District station located on Paris Avenue later this year. As part of the renovation, the Third District will move its operations to the current NOPD Training Academy next door. The current Third District building will become the new NOPD Training Academy once renovations are complete. Those renovations are expected to be completed by 2017.