Dec 14, 2023 - News

New Orleans wants a new state police troop to patrol the French Quarter

Photo shows a crowded Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is seen in August 2021. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

New Orleans' new police chief has asked for a Louisiana State Police troop based in the French Quarter.

Why it matters: The city has a longstanding partnership with LSP, but the proposal, if approved, could mean changes for how the city's most famous neighborhood is policed.

Driving the news: Anne Kirkpatrick, the New Orleans Police Department's new superintendent, wants more state troopers in the French Quarter and patrolling the city's interstates, she told a crowd Wednesday at a Bureau of Governmental Research event.

  • Kirkpatrick said she wants LSP to be the primary agency on interstate cases, and specifically mentioned I-10 shootings. Last year, at least 30 people were shot on New Orleans interstates.
  • She also said the super fog interstate closures took too many NOPD resources away from responding to calls for help in the city.

How it works: The New Orleans Police Department is the primary agency patrolling interstates in the city, with the help of LSP, the state transportation department and others.

  • Kirkpatrick said she has asked LSP to take the lead, which would free up NOPD officers.
  • LSP is already the primary agency for interstate and state highway crashes in unincorporated Jefferson Parish, JPSO Capt. Jason Rivarde tells Axios.

Context: Gov.-elect Jeff Landry last month said he planned for a bigger LSP presence in the city but did not offer details, writes Axios' Chelsea Brasted. His team wasn't immediately available to comment Wednesday on if a new troop in the French Quarter is part of the plan.

The big picture: The New Orleans Police Department has lost several hundred officers in the past few years, amid an increase in violent and property crime.

  • Kirkpatrick said she's recruiting more officers and leaning on partnerships to bolster responses to calls for wrecks and mental health crises.

Zoom in: LSP has nine troops in Louisiana.

  • Troop B, based in Kenner, is responsible for Orleans, Jefferson, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist (east of the Mississippi River), Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.

What's next: LSP spokesperson Nick Manale tells Axios the agency "will review and implement operational plans throughout Orleans Parish after the beginning of the year."

  • He said the plans will be done in coordination with NOPD, Landry's office and New Orleans native Maj. Robert Hodges, who is Landry's pick for Louisiana State Police superintendent.
  • He declined to comment about a possible new troop in New Orleans.

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