NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Entrepreneur Sidney Torres and the French Quarter Management District have settled differences and come up with a new security plan that includes a new app, new cars and the promise of faster police response.
The Thursday unveiling comes on the heels of a public spat between Torres and French Quarter Task Force member Bob Simms. Torres vented his anger four months ago over changes made in a French Quarter security system that he helped pioneer.
Now, the spat is over. Torres and Simms hugged it out in front of the Eighth District police station.
"We've learned how to work together and to put all the disagreements we had into the app," said Torres.
"You can be part of the task force, you can download the app and help make the Quarter safer," said Simms.
The new app automatically geo-locates anyone who calls up the app to type in a crime, and on Thursday, someone did. The call for help showed up in the app in real time, where it was seen by an officer. The geo-location of the incident: Royal Street. After the complaint was logged we went to the shop where the incident occurred.
"We asked them to move from our doorway, and it's a distraction," said a shop manager who didn't want to be identified.
She said vagrants are a constant problem. Within 10 minutes, an officer responded and was there when showed up.
"Response was quick. I was happy, officer was very nice," the manager said.
Many of those officers will use new Smart Cars purchased by Torres, who put up $100,000. The new vehicles are completely street legal and are expected to last a long time. The previously used Polaris vehicles weren't technically street legal and have outlived their usefulness.
"We have three on the streets. The first one will go out today," Torres said.
All calls will be monitored in what's being called a "war room" to be set up in 30 days.
"The war room allows someone with monitors to track the devices on a minute-by-minute basis," said Torres.
If it succeeds, it could go citywide, and Torres the entrepreneur is already talking to other cities about setting up similar apps.