One-on-one with Gov. Edwards & the head of State Police on crime

Edwards says there is an “elevated” State Police presence in New Orleans
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 7:20 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards and the head of Louisiana State Police say the state is helping fight the crime problem in New Orleans.

FOX 8 spoke one-on-one with Edwards and State Police Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis inside the state capitol building.

Edwards was asked what more the state could do to enhance the crime fight.

“Well, I think going back decades for large events whether it’s Mardi Gras, Essence Festival if there’s a Super Bowl or a Final Four event you’re going to see a greatly elevated presence of the State Police to complement what’s on the ground there but even today there are 150 State Police officers working in the New Orleans area in various capacities, so I don’t want people thinking that we don’t have an elevated number of State Troopers and DPS [Department of Public Safety] workers in New Orleans today because we do,” said Edwards.

He said other areas of the state are experiencing increased crime as well.

“This is a problem across Louisiana and we’re experiencing it in all of our urban areas, not just New Orleans and in fact many of our rural areas, too, have elevated violent crime rates,” said Edwards.

State Police has manpower issues, too.

“We’re about 300 troopers short of what the authorized in-strength is, that limits our ability to do some of the things we have to do around the state one of which is making sure we’re patrolling our interstates and highways because one of the unfortunate things we’ve seen around the country and here in Louisiana since COVID is an elevated number of traffic accidents and fatalities,” said Edwards.

Davis responded to a question about whether the 150-trooper presence in New Orleans could be substantially increased.

“Well, at this particular time, and Sabrina thank you for addressing this but, you know, as we’ve discussed we’re not just short in New Orleans, we’re short across the state and, you know, the state is our responsibility inclusive of New Orleans and as we look at New Orleans, we’re putting in innovative ways to really address the crime there. We’ve brought in more technology,” said Davis.

Davis says more troopers will be in New Orleans for this weekend’s Southern Decadence Festival, which Edwards has said could attract 300,000 people.

“We’re going to have an elevated presence out there on the highway but also within the city,” Davis stated.

And the governor says the state’s plan to transfer some of the more violent juveniles from the Bridge City Juvenile Detention Center in Jefferson is not on hold.

“There’s nothing paused, and in fact the federal judge did not grant the TRO and so we, it’s the best for the reasons that I’ve stated numerous times publicly; it’s the best option available to us, we have a facility that is in good working order and in fact, it’s better than other facilities that we currently have youths in and we’re going to take all of the precautions necessary to make sure there is not any, they won’t even see any of the adult inmates,” said Edwards.

And they say it will take more than just law enforcement to reduce crime and the help of churches and others is needed.

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