NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "We are going after the violent offenders. If violence is what you choose to do, then we are coming for you," NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said at a Monday news conference.
After a staggering increase in gun violence across the city, Harrison has formed a specialized unit focused on gun crimes.
"It has never been tolerated, and it's not going to be tolerated now," Harrison said.
Eight officers and one sergeant will make up the task force. Harrison said they'll be housed at the Special Operations Division.
"It's a combination of both investigative and a tactical response to this problem," Harrison said.
The NOPD has investigated 90 shooting incidents so far this year. Since Jan. 1, 114 people have been shot. According to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, that's a near 50 percent increase over the same time period last year.
"So, this is a coordinated effort where our new investigators will be working with district investigators who will be the primary investigators for shootings," Harrison said.
The new task force is another arm of the NOPD's TIGER unit, which was formed last June to combat armed robberies. Deputy Chief Paul Noel told FOX 8 that the TIGER unit was a team formed to work alongside investigators in each district.
"The TIGER unit was formed to help identify and attack the trends that occur across district lines and arrest those individuals committing those crimes," Noel said.
"Our TIGER unit has been successful to the point that since we created it, that unit alone is responsible for 99 armed robbery arrests," Harrison said.
Just like the TIGER unit, the new task force will target high-risk individuals who are carrying illegal guns and committing violent crimes.
"Because we've had a number of recruits that are now full-fledged police officers, it gave me the ability to pull a few officers together that are highly skilled, highly trained detectives and tactical officers to create the new unit," Harrison said.
Chief Harrison said the department's street gang unit will remain in place, but he believes a new tactical unit is necessary.
"We are going to take the fight to the bad guys," he said.\