Strong police presence promised in NOLA for New Year's holiday

Strong police presence promised in NOLA for New Year's holiday

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - People ringing in 2016 in New Orleans should expect to see a strong police presence, according to the New Orleans Police Department and Louisiana State Police.

By mid-morning New Year's Eve tourists from around the country, and some from around the world filled the French Quarter.

A couple from Canada said it was their first trip to the city and they were eager to experience the arrival of a new year New Orleans style.

"Just the atmosphere, the food," said Tammy McLean.

Among the thousands on downtown streets are Ole Miss and Oklahoma State fans in town for the Sugar Bowl.

"We're going to win, we're going to win, we've got a great team," said Oklahoma State fan Tina Schmidt.

Ole Miss fans anticipate a win, too.

"I think we are…yes, we hope so," said David McCay, who wants Ole Miss to get the victory.

Workers put the finishing touches on a stage outside the gates of Jackson Square where live entertainment will lead up to midnight.

Some tourists were not waiting until the evening to begin their partying.  Some planned to spend most of their time on Bourbon Street.

"That's how we're getting ready and that's how we're ending it with Bourbon Street," said Corbin Schmidt.

"We're absolutely prepared for tonight, we're absolutely prepared for tomorrow," said New Orleans Police Supt. Michael Harrison.

As visitors strolled by, Chief Harrison and State Police Commander, Col. Mike Edmonson held a press conference in front of Washington Artillery Park to issue a collective message that police will blanket the area.

Harrison said there is 100 percent staffing, in terms of NOPD officers, for this holiday weekend.

"Everywhere you go you're going to New Orleans police officers, you're going to see members of the Louisiana State Police," he said.

And an extra 100 state troopers are in town, as well.  That brings the total number of state police in the city to 130.

"That will supplement the number of troopers that are already down here, these will be primarily uniform presence, they'll be walking the streets of the French Quarter, the Marigny, the Central Business District, they'll be working in, and around the Sugar Bowl," said Col. Edmonson.

Terror concerns are on the radar of local and state law enforcement.

Edmonson said the FBI is involved in the security plan, as well.
"That is something we follow on a continual basis," he said.

The police chief urged members of the public to leave their weapons home.

"We're good at spotting it, and we will be taking swift and decisive actions, so leave that at home, do not bring that here because you will pay the price if you get caught," said Supt. Harrison.

"Also that plain clothes element will be working in there to make sure that we do our due diligence for those who certainly want to prey on our visitors, prey on our citizens," Edmonson added.

And as the police chief looks ahead to 2016 his goals can be anticipated.

"Make sure that we reduce crime, we make the city safe and we make people feel safe," said Supt. Harrison.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.