NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana State Police, U.S. Marshals and Probation and Parole officers will aid in addressing the New Orleans Police Department's lack of manpower in an effort to combat the city's violent crime.
"We're working with [the agencies] on a daily basis for the entire summer, working to identify and pick up people who are wanted, making sure we're creating criminal cases for those committing criminal violations and removing those people from the streets. That's happening every single day," NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said.
Extra state troopers will add to LSP's presence already in the French Quarter. The additional officers and troopers will be deployed across the city and not just the French Quarter, according to Harrison.
The help from other agencies comes as NOPD demands more from its own officers on the streets as visibility and deterrence play major roles in the anti-crime strategy.
"We're flexing overtime with a number of our officers working six days a week instead of five days a week so that we can create a seven-day coverage to create more visibility to deter crime and apprehend people who do it," Harrison said.
Harrison said he understands the frustration after the recent violent attacks in the French Quarter. However, he pointed out to the department's statistics that show violent crime is down 40 percent in the Quarter this year compared to 2016.
"A lot of people will tie criminal behavior and what the criminals do to something that's happening in the police department. Let's not forget, these are people who are making their own conscious decisions to go and commit crimes, and they are doing that when they know the police are not in a certain area because we can't be everywhere," Harrison said. "...We are out there everyday and every night doing whatever it takes to find people who commit those violent crimes and hold them accountable."
But with the influx of officers from various agencies coming to New Orleans, LSU Criminologist Peter Scharf warned that given the state's budget crisis and law enforcement agencies cutting back, moving troopers to New Orleans fills a void, but it can also create one.
"In some ways you can argue, Lafourche Parish benefits from the quarter because of the tax base. But they don't want to lose a state trooper for a patrol in the quarter," Scharf said.
State police did not wish to share how many additional troopers may be patrolling the city.
A LSP spokesperson said the department is always evaluating where manpower is needed and willing to make changes whenever public safety is a concern.