NOPD goes after one million dollars for license plate reading cameras

License plate readers in NOLA
License plate readers in NOLA
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans is hoping to use COVID relief funds to help restore police overtime and add 150 new license plate readers across town. The new push comes after repeated shootings on the interstate and would be paid for in part by COVID relief funds.

The New Orleans City Council is now considering a request from the NOPD for 1 million dollars to purchase 150 license plate readers, to be deployed across the city.

“This year we have had several high profile shootings along the interstate a few of these resources will be placed on those highways as well as strategically close throughout the city,” said NOPD Supt. Shaun Ferguson.

Just this week two people were injured in a shooting on I-10 near the Superdome. In the last 7 months, at least five other people were injured in interstate shootings including a teenage girl and infant at the base of the high-rise back in April.

“We are also looking to bring in more IT personnel resources that we are partnering with the City Hall’s IT as well as the Orleans Parish communications division to implement new technology systems that are proving to be significant in size and scope,” Ferguson told the council Tuesday.

But while an LSU Criminologist says it’s good that the NOPD is doing something, he says interstate cameras are no Cure-all.

“Is technology the best way to be proactive?” said LSU Health Criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf. He says the cameras are intrusive, and he says preliminary results of a new LSU study show that a majority of shootings are occurring in neighborhoods and not the interstates.

Chief Ferguson’s crime plan includes a request for $600,000 to pay for extra IT personnel to decipher real-time crime information which could be captured on a license plate reader system similar to those used in Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes.

The city also proposes spending $300,000 to promote dozens of officers hoping to boost retention, with much of the money coming from the American rescue plan.

“We are able to activate our ARP in a method that speaks to the needs on the ground right now,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

Chief Ferguson also hopes to win approval for an extra $3 million to bring overtime up to last year’s level of $11 million, to boost patrols, Under a plan now being considered by City Council.

The city council could approve the new NOPD funding plan by the first week of November.

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