Monday, August 25, 2014

Citizens On Patrol

Sure was a wacky Police Academy movie
Several dozen civilians would be trained in some police duties, paid and deployed to the French Quarter and adjacent areas under a plan that Mayor Mitch Landrieu made public Thursday.

The patrol cops — who would be unarmed and have no arrest powers — would assume traffic control and other non-emergency duties to free up sworn New Orleans police officers to focus on more serious crimes, according to a summary prepared by the Mayor’s Office.

Landrieu’s office is calling the plan NOLA Patrol.

“We’d like to fast-track this,” Stephen Perry, president and chief executive officer of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Thursday when asked about the plan. “The response we’re getting from the tourism industry has been very positive. We want to have a cleaner and safer French Quarter for tourists and residents.”
Wait.  Why is Stephen Perry talking to us about a law enforcement initiative?  Because, The Citizens On Patrol Temp Police will be paid by the hotels.  
The funds for NOLA Patrol would not come from the cash-strapped city budget but from a special levy that New Orleans hotels began assessing on themselves April 1 to market the city, under a 2013 law passed by the Legislature.

The self-assessment adds 1.75 percent to a hotel bill, with the proceeds going to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

One-seventh of that assessment, or 0.25 percent of the hotel bill, would go to the city for NOLA Patrol. That money — estimated to be about $2.5 million per year — would be used to hire 50 “ground patrol officers” and pay for 12 new vehicles.

While the city would not provide the money for NOLA Patrol, the City Council would decide how to spend it under a cooperative endeavor agreement that Perry expects the visitors bureau to sign in the next week.
It says that the Citizens On Patrol will be unarmed but I think it might be fun to at least let them borrow the snow camouflage.. at least on special occasions.  Maybe during Christmastime they can go around caroling in historical garb.  They are tourism employees after all.  Law enforcement for and by a coalition of private businesses with heavy political influence sounds totally constitutionally legit.  I feel safer already.

It certainly can't get any scarier than the State Police hanging around past Labor Day
NEW ORLEANS - This summer Governor Bobby Jindal approved 50 extra Louisiana State Troopers to help patrol the streets of New Orleans through Labor Day weekend.

State and city officials now confirm the additional manpower will be sticking around well past the September 1 deadline.

You've likely observed the extra blue uniforms and hats patrolling the French Quarter, Marigny, Central Business District, and other tourist attractions across the city. The additional manpower was approved by  Jindal at the Landrieu Administration's request.
They don't get to wear snow camo either, I guess.

But they are pretty good at fudging the details when people in their custody are mysteriously shot so it's no surprise they're welcome to stay.  But after a while, we should probably get them trained up on taking room reservations. Just so they know who they're working for.

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