Prior to this, one white French Quarter resident tried to start the French Quarter Minutemen to fight the back the rising tide of black crime...
|Why is this sign necessary in the French Quarter? Well, why is the NOLA FOR LIFE campaign necessary to keep black people from killing one another (and off the streets)...|
Now, a white businessman in New Orleans is using his own money to ensure the French Quarter continues to be a destination place for international tourism. [New French Quarter police patrol, crime app, taking shape, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 2-19-15]:
In the latest effort to bolster police presence in the French Quarter, a prominent businessman has partnered with civic leaders to launch a new patrol of off-duty New Orleans police officers dedicated to the city's historic epicenter.
Sidney Torres IV, the New Orleans businessman who made headlines in recent months for his television commercials blasting Mayor Mitch Landrieu over French Quarter safety, said he is putting up his own money to staff and equip the patrol for at least the next three months.
"I'm very confident in this," Torres said by phone Friday (Feb. 20). "If it works, and I have a good sense it will, funding is not going to be a problem."
The pilot program calls for three off-duty NOPD officers to patrol the Quarter in all-terrain vehicles equipped with lights and sirens. But unlike a similar plan to place off-duty NOPD officers on patrol along Bourbon Street, Torres' plan includes a smart-phone application designed to connect citizens and visitors of the Quarter directly to those patrols.
Those who download the free app, which Torres said is in its final stages of development, would be able to report in a few taps of their phone screen a crime being committed -- or suspicious activity -- to the nearest patrol officer. A photograph could also be submitted through the app, Torres said. All reports would also go to the NOPD 8th District, which includes the French Quarter.
"This is not meant to be a replacement for 911. This is more for real-time intervention," said Bob Simms, who heads up the French Quarter Management District's Security Task Force. The task force, as well as Mayor Landrieu's office, have worked with Torres to craft plans for the patrol.
Arrangements are still being finalized, but Simms estimated the French Quarter patrol would likely launch sometime in mid-March. The following month, Simms said, a patrol of NOPD off-duty officers is expected to hit Bourbon Street -- funded by businesses on the bustling thoroughfare with a match from the city and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Both patrols should serve as a complement to existing 8th District officers, Simms said, as well as the quality of life enforcement promised by the not-yet-launched civilianNOLA Patrol and a continued presence from Louisiana State Police.
State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said his agency plans to keep both a plain-clothes and uniformed trooper presence in the city through the remainder of the year. A contingent of 150 troopers was in town to assist NOPD during the Mardi Gras season. While declining to provide specific numbers, Edmonson said future trooper levels would fluctuate depending on the need.
"The critical part is: The criminal element that operates in the city doesn't sit there and say, 'I'll operate when these people are in town,'" Edmonson said. "They're always operating. We'll have to maintain vigilance. The public should see a consistent State Police presence in the city."
Both Simms and Torres acknowledge that off-duty patrols and a State Police presence are temporary solutions while the city's police force continues its quest to fill its thinning ranks.It's fitting 2015 is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, for no force of nature threatens the stability and civility of a city like its black population.