Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Nelson, Marla

Second Advisor

Gladstone, David

Third Advisor

Galle, William


This dissertation is a case study of the New Orleans Police Department and identified factors that affected the retention of law enforcement officers post-Hurricane Katrina. The NOPD was chosen because the agency was an extreme case and experienced the unprecedented separation of over 300 officers during and post- Hurricane Katrina. The variables examined included tenure, age, salary, education, and job satisfaction, as well as, race, sex, marital status, and New Orleans residency.

This research is significant because in a time of decreasing budgets and increased cost to replace employees, where skills are scarce and knowledge is important, recruitment is costly, and it takes time to fill vacancies, turnover can be problematic (Loquercio, 2006). Hurricane Katrina was an unprecedented catastrophic disaster unlike any event experienced by a local police department. The impact accelerated the attrition of New Orleans Police Department officers at a time when the agency and community needed them the most. In addition to normal retention challenges experienced by law enforcement, post-Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Police Department experienced separation of almost a fourth of its agency post-Hurricane Katrina. This was very problematic and forced the department to operate severely short-staffed at a time when the department was trying to provide essential services to the community and recover from the storm’s affect at the same time. This dissertation explored some of the causes of attrition, examined the attrition of the NOPD pre-and post-Hurricane Katrina, and reasons most officers stayed. It was important to identify lessons learned from an agency and officers who experienced a disaster and unprecedented attrition of officers first hand. The consequences of such significant attrition will take years to overcome, especially in light of the New Orleans Police Department’s pre-and post-Hurricane Katrina recruitment and retention challenges.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.