Tax proposed for state police patrol in French Quarter

Tax proposed for state police patrol in French Quarter

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - French Quarter residents are being asked to approve a tax to help keep them safe.

Mayor Landrieu says the money would be used to ensure State Police remain in the city.

The mayor says the tax plus matching dollars from the hospitality industry would generate some $4.5 million dollars annually.

State Police recently returned to patrols in the crime-plagued French Quarter. Their latest deployments run through the end of the year, and Mayor Landrieu wants their presence permanent.

Landrieu announced that as part of a multi-tiered anti-crime program, he wants people in the French Quarter to approve a quarter cent sales tax to be dedicated to state police patrols in the city.

"The funds generated from an additional quarter cent sales within the French Quarter will be used to fund a long term contingent of state police in the French Quarter," Landrieu said. "The Louisiana State Police and the New Orleans Police Department have had a 35-year fantastic working relationship together primarily adding responsibilities for Mardi Gras and for special events. We want to make this a permanent relationship."

New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison said, "As your police chief, I'm committed to making sure every neighborhood in this city is a very safe neighborhood, but in order to make that happen we need more resources so that we can have more boots on the ground."

French Quarter residents involved in the fight against crime applaud the proposed tax.

Bob Simms of the French Quarter Management District said, "I think it's a good idea, the amount for me as a resident, the amount I would pay is miniscule and so it's a good idea to provide that sustained funding source."

Other efforts are afoot too as the French Quarter League is donating $40,000 a month to hire NOPD cops to do foot patrols, which begin in April.

"For the Bourbon Street patrol, it's officers on foot assigned to a specific block of Bourbon Street that we want proactively walking up and down the street and hoping to make the quarter safer," Simms said.

Today, cops working details began patrolling on vehicles donated by businessman Sidney Torres, who also has an app to fight crime in the quarter.

It's not just vehicles and officers on the street, this app is a new technology that's never been used before, definitely not in the state of Louisiana and it's an app that allows citizens to get involved if they see suspicious activity," Torres said. "It's about being proactive, not reactive."

New Orleans State Representative Helena Moreno will sponsor legislation to create a public safety fund to aid the fight on crime.

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