Application process underway for city's 'NOLA Patrol' program - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Application process underway for city's 'NOLA Patrol' program

The New Orleans Civil Service Commission is now accepting applications for the NOLA Patrol program. Approved by the City Council in November, the program aims to hire unarmed, uniformed officers to patrol the French Quarter and other areas.

A job listing for the positions - which are officially titled "police community services specialists" - is now up on the commission's website. According to the listing, duties may include tasks like directing traffic, writing parking tickets and patrolling for theft.

On Monday, City CAO Andy Kopplin issued this statement on the program:

“We're pleased that the City Council approved NOLA Patrol for the 2015 budget year. Since that approval, the Administration has pushed the Civil Service Department to begin accepting applications to fill the 50 budgeted positions. We look forward to training beginning in early 2015.”

Over the past few weeks, the program has stirred controversy. Supporters say the patrols will help deter crime by adding more uniformed security presence, while critics argue the focus should be on hiring more armed officers.

French Quarter resident Bob Simms said the current lack of manpower on the streets is an ongoing problem that he believes has gotten worse since the routine State Police patrols ended.

“Since then, we've seen an uptick in crime. It's a fact of life. When you take away police presence from the street, crimes happen again," Simms said. "There's great work going on to get some more recruits into the police force, but that's going to take a long time. We need some supplemental resources. Bringing the troopers back at some level would be great, more officers working overtime, more officers working details."

Simms didn't weigh in on the NOLA Patrol plan Monday, but some tourists we talked with did.

"I think you have to get unique. I think you have to really incorporate new ideas into a system," said Josh Freegard of Phoenix, Ariz.

Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, in town from Washington, D.C., said she will be curious to see how it works, and whether it could be used in other cities.

"I think if it's going to prevent some of the crime to begin with, it's going to make a difference in many ways, and I think that's something we want in all our communities, whether it's here in New Orleans or other places," she said.

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