NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Sidney Torres, creator of the French Quarter Task Force, released the following statement Sunday morning, calling for drastic action to be taken after a mass shooting on Bourbon Street left one dead and nine injured.
"I was shocked and saddened to see the news this morning, and I want to offer to be helpful. Something needs to be done immediately," Torres said.
He invested money into the task force which uses technology to help with patrols in the French Quarter. "Technology helped us make the rest of the French Quarter safer than it's ever been, and it can help us on Bourbon Street. For special events and times, we need to treat Bourbon Street like the Superdome with 70,000 people in it. People know that when they go to the Dome, they will be safe because everyone is scanned by a wand for guns. We need that assurance on Bourbon Street, and it can be done. Lives are being lost, and one of our most critically important cultural gems is being threatened."
Torres is calling for the city to close off side street access to Bourbon Street and set up metal detectors. "When we have special events in New Orleans, like Mardi Gras or Jazzfest, we have extra cleanup crews. Now we need extra security crews to check for guns. Ours is not the only city to face the problem of violence, and right now is a moment to be aggressive, to show the violent forces that we won't put up with it. We have seen technology help before. When we created the French Quarter Task Force, crime was out of control. But things are now safer than ever throughout the rest of the Quarter. Since the Task Force was created, it has responded to 30,000 calls. Over 21,000 people have downloaded the app and their use, along with 15,000 officer-initiated calls, has resulted in over 800 arrests and over 90,000 miles logged patrolling. Bourbon Street is special and calls for additional measures. But technology has helped us; it can help us again. People's lives and our community's safety depend on it. The time is now."