District C meeting is new chief's first public outing

People attending an Algiers meeting on next year's budget got to hear from the new interim police chief.

The mayor hosted the meeting to talk budget priorities for next year, and hundreds filled an auditorium at L.B Landry school in Algiers.

Talk of crime dominated the meeting.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu began the meeting by introducing the interim NOPD Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, the former commander of the Seventh District.

"I thought it was wise at this time to promote somebody from within, and I have asked Commander Michael Harrison if he would serve as the interim chief," Landrieu said.

"I am extremely grateful, extremely proud, but yet humbled to be selected and appointed to lead the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department into the future," Harrison told the crowd. "I am fully committed to this task, and we as a department are fully committed to making every neighborhood in New Orleans a safe neighborhood."

In the audience were crime victims and everyday citizens fed up with the violence. Bill Murphy, of the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association, was brutally attacked last month by a group of youngsters on the streets. He called for more police patrols.

"When you've got police on the street, they prevent crime before it happens," Murphy said. "They make people think that they don't want to do the crime."

Many in the audience also complained about street lights, high grass and poor streets.

"The streets in the city are deplorable, and we would like to get you committed, Mr. Mayor, to helping us fix our streets," said Eric Songy. "We want to work with you to find the funds, to get a master plan put in place and produced."

Landrieu uses such meetings to get a sense of what residents' priorities are in terms of where the city's limited dollars should be placed. He is scheduled to release his 2015 budget proposal in October.