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French Quarter patrols will roll 24/7 once again

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 4:47 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - For the past six months, small, mini-patrol units that were fixtures in the French Quarter have been virtually nonexistent.

French Quarter civic groups stepped into action and now the city’s leading tourist agency, New Orleans & Co., has stepped up to fill the gap.

The French Quarter Task Force was brought in seven years ago and immediately produced results.

“Violent crime dropped 45% in the first six months,” said Bob Simms, the co-founder of the French Quarter Task Force.

But wear and tear took a toll on the old police units and they were taken off the streets late last year.

“The complaint for the last six months was ‘what happened to the little black cars?’” said Simms.

Citizens teamed up with the task force to solicit $100,000 from New Orleans & Co. to purchase four slightly-used Chevrolets, rigged with police hardware, to once again patrol the Quarter 24/7.

The French Quarter Task Force secured grant money to purchase four new patrol units.
The French Quarter Task Force secured grant money to purchase four new patrol units.(WVUE)

“We felt this was an important time to step up in our efforts and make sure we’re good partners and providing additional support to the NOPD,” said Walter Leger, III with New Orleans & Co.

Officers will work overtime details, paid for by a quarter-cent French Quarter sales tax.

Though a single officer will ride in these units they are never alone. The movement of every officer involved in this security program is tracked inside a nerve center in the 8th District police station.

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Crimes can be reported through the French Quarter Task Force app.

Each unit will patrol one of four zones, laid out in the French Quarter.

Gail Cavett helped secure the grant money, knowing full well how effective the patrols can be, after an incident in front of her St. Louis Street home.

“The minute those four gunmen saw the blue lights they all fled,” said Cavett.

The new units are expected to begin patrols this week, providing an extra level of security in the city’s main tourist attraction.

New Orleans & Co. is also contributing $100,000 for foot patrols in the French Quarter. It’s paid for out of a private fund, collected from nearly 1,100 hospitality businesses.

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