French Quarter Task Force may experience changes

French Quarter Task Force may experience changes

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Changes may be on the way for the French Quarter Security Task Force. Businessman Sidney Torres could soon have more control over it after a nasty feud with the volunteer who runs the program.

It's no secret Torres is unhappy with the way his program, the French Quarter Security Task Force, is run.

"This system will be down the tubes in the next year and half if they don't start running it the way it was designed," Torres said.

After taking out ads blasting the NOPD and a very public feud with Bob Simms, the volunteer at it's helm, Torres says the mayor's administration reached out to him, wanting him to have a larger role, overseeing the off-duty NOPD officers who patrol the quarter.

One of the responsibilities includes hiring someone with a law enforcement background to run the initiative, as opposed to Simms' who currently puts in around 60 hours a week, for free.

"Ultimately it's the mayor's decision and his administration and I totally respect that and will honor that," Torres said.

He continues, "I spent a half a million dollars putting this program in place and for me, I will be involved with this process."

The businessman wants to keep a tighter leash on the officers who work the detail shifts. He explains slow response times, like the one experienced by a tourist who was robbed of her purse last week, and had to wait an hour for cops to show up, are simply unacceptable.

"It shouldn't be like that. This task force is supposed to be quick response time, engage with the public, proactive not reactive and just make sure those things don't happen."

The mayor's administration confirms the meeting with Torres and says it's looking for a solution to make sure the task force runs successfully long term.

Because of the improved dialogue between Torres and the city, he's decided to renew the city's usage of an app he created, which was set to expire, that allows residents to report crime.

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