State Police end extra patrols in French Quarter

State Police end extra patrols in French Quarter

They've become a familiar sight in the French Quarter but after Sunday night, additional state troopers sent to the area to help with crime, will be gone.

In their final pre-shift meeting in the Quarter, State Police Col. Mike Edmonson told his troopers, "I want to be just as aggressive, I want to be just as proactive. I want to make sure that we're asking the same questions."

For 17 weeks, troopers helped ease the work load of NOPD officers. "We have over 3,800 calls for service. That means 3,800 times that we went and serviced a call….the city of New Orleans did not have to," Edmonson said.

In the process, state police say they removed 56 illegal weapons and a million dollars worth of drugs from the streets. They also gained the respect of residents and business owners.

Resident Doreen Ketchens says, "It's a security thing, it feels good, you feel empowered so yeah, I'm gonna miss them."

Huey Farrell, manager of Bourbon Heat nightclub, says, "It's a sad day to see the state troopers leave. They've been a great asset to everybody here on Bourbon Street and in the French Quarter all summer long."

Back in June, Col. Edmonson sent an additional 100 troopers to the city after a mass shooting on Bourbon Street that left one person dead and nine wounded. Troopers came from around the state for the special assignment, which was to only last a few weeks.

"The original plan was to be here about a month. We wanted to work with the City of New Orleans so they could actually figure out who committed that murder, so we came here and we extended it another month and we extended it another month and the bottom line is, we can't just keep extending it," Edmonson said.

The reason is a shortage of manpower and money. Edmonson says there are more NOPD officers on staff than troopers that patrol the entire state.

But while the additional help will be taken away, the men and women that typically work in and around the city, coming from their home base of Troop B in Kenner, will stay in place. On average, that's about 44 troopers.

Edmonson also points out, additional manpower will be added for upcoming special events like the Bayou Classic and the Christmas holidays.

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