Online petition aims to keep troopers in N.O.

French Quarter residents don't want to see the state troopers leave the city, and hundreds of people have signed a petition to keep them on patrol past their November deadline.

State Police have shifted gears and have cut back to evening patrols on 12-hour shifts, but they are still committed to staying in New Orleans for another month.

"We've had a public outcry, they've been wonderful to us," said State Police Troop B spokeswoman Trooper Melissa Matey.

But their plan to leave the first week of November is meeting resistance.

"I think part of this puzzle is presence, and we need presence," said Mike Tilbury, who has organized an online petition - with more than 400 signatures - asking State Police to stay.

"I had a brother who was murdered here in 1972," said Quarter resident Ray Chagnard. "Our police force is a little thin, and they need the assistance of State Police."

Most say the presence has made a difference.

"I really see them on Bourbon, but everywhere else I don't see them," said Sunshine McLain, who works in the Quarter and lives in the Marigny.

Many say the edge of the Quarter and the Marigny are still vulnerable.

"They literally had him on the ground and was kicking him," said Peter Collier, who saw a man attacked last night on Governor Nicholls Street. "The police didn't come. I didn't see them around."

State Police say they won't abandon the NOPD.

"Even here at Troop B we assist NOPD on a daily basis," Matey said.

State Police have already extended their mission once and they will continue to support the NOPD for high-profile events like Mardi Gras and big bowl games.

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