NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - City and law enforcement officials on Monday introduced a nearly $40 million package of public safety and homeland security investments to help fight crime.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the package of new citywide technology investments, new police cars for added visibility and new bar regulations will enhance security in hot spots throughout the city and reinforce assets that could be vulnerable to terrorism.
The city increased the NOPD's budget to $150 million for 2017, which includes $11 million for overtime, new license plate readers and more than 20 new civilian positions. Previous investments in an online electronic police reporting system are designed to help reduce NOPD manpower pressures by allowing citizens to get online police reports for minor incidents like lost or stolen items and non-injury car accidents. The NOPD will also unveil stronger enforcement of the city's new false alarm penalty laws.
The investments unveiled today include:
- Over 200 new high-definition, public security cameras and signage in 20 hot spots
- Over 100 new license plate readers deployed citywide
- A 24/7 real-time command center in which cameras, license plate readers and other technology will be monitored
- 300 new police take-home cars to improve visibility for NOPD patrol officers who reside in Orleans Parish
- Use of the OPSO mobile booking unit to reduce taking officers off the street for arrests
- Adding K9 units with gun and bomb-sniffing potential
- Remote sensing technology on Bourbon Street to assist officers in detection of illegal guns
- Hardening street infrastructure and making Bourbon Street pedestrian-only during certain times to prevent a Nice or Berlin-style attack
- Brighter LED lighting in the French Quarter
The mayor and the City Council will work on regulations to mandate that bars and restaurants have outward-facing security cameras that can be tied into a 24-7 command center for monitoring, as well as a law stating that bars must close their doors - even if they remain open and doing business - at 3 a.m.
The costs of the plan are being shared, with $16 million coming from city sources and $23 million from the the state-owned Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.