New Orleans

Expanded ‘Royal Street Patrol’ will soon launch to deter ‘aggressive panhandling, inebriants, and illegal sales’ – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-12-03 15:05:26 –

Off-duty police details, called the Royal Street Patrol, resumed shortly to place non-NOPD officers in the 12-square-block area of ​​the French Quarter after securing six months of funding from New Orleans and the company. increase. New Orleans Tourism Industry Marketing Agency.

The patrol initially started in late 2017 with personal donations from neighboring companies, but ended at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, New Orleans and Company uses public authorities to manage and revive the program.

New Orleans and Company will provide $ 600,000 to fund patrols for the first six months. This program is overseen by the French Quarter Management District. This is a state-established public body that also oversees a supplemental police patrol program that pays off-duty NOPD officers to guard the French Quarter.

The arrangement is Cooperative Effort Agreement Between two organizations. FQMD Chairman of the Board Christian Pendleton told Lens that he expects the deal to be signed on Friday and aims to begin patrols by the end of the month.

According to Pendleton, Royal Street Patrol will have non-NOPD police officers, including embankment police and protection observers and parole officers. According to the CEA, patrol priorities “provide a visible police presence to promote a clean and safe environment for the community, aggressive bread handling, tort, and illegal sales. To stop it. “

Pendleton stated that non-NOPD patrols are a necessary addition to regular NOPD patrols and off-duty NOPD supplemental patrols. Shortage of officers In the department. He said it is important to create a visible police presence in the area as the city’s tourism industry is trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. He said he needed to rely on other police agencies to do that.

“This is everyone’s sincere effort to make sure that when New Orleans comes back, it will come back in the best possible way,” Pendleton said. “And frankly, NOPDs need help right now. They are short and will be short before they get better.”

The CEA explicitly states that patrols will be managed through a contract with Matthew Pincus, a former NOPD officer and son of the general manager of Hotel Monteleone, one of the many hotels in the hotel. increase. Patrol area For Royal Street Patrol.

In an interview, New Orleans and Vice President of Communications Kelly Schultz emphasized the importance of public safety for visitors and residents, but failed to answer most of Lens’s questions and was familiar with CEA. I said I didn’t. Program details.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea. Ethan Elestad, executive director of the New Orleans Music and Culture Union, told Lens that he was concerned about a program that was used to oust street performers and act as a civilian guard for hotels in the area. He is also worried about the potentially negative interactions between street performers and non-NOPD officers, asking questions about hiring Pincus to manage the program without any kind of public bidding process. Did.

“Our immediate focus is on how this affects street performers and other cultural activities, and how it affects the rights of the First Amendment to Royal Street,” he says. I did. “These are two non-elected organizations that use public funds to fund more than $ 500,000 in private police, and are one of the companies that support them and are run by the sons of executives.”

He said he was worried that the patrol might harass him and try to get rid of the street performer. According to CEA, one of the data points that patrols have to collect is the number of “people who have traveled.”

He is a non-NOPD officer Not targeted It applies to the sector’s federal consent decree as well as to the myriad policies that the sector has implemented over the last decade to increase accountability and minimize harmful public interactions.

Ellestad wasn’t sure if MACCNO had any particular complaints about Royal Street Patrol, but he made some complaints from street performers about his interactions with non-NOPD officers, including the Levee police, who were used as staff in the former. I said I received it. Repeated patrols.

According to FQMD, Robert Simms, one of FQMD’s directors, had similar concerns when the patrol was first initiated. 2017 meeting memo.. He said he was still concerned about placing police officers in the French Quarter, who were not accustomed to patrolling the unique neighborhood.

“Yes, those concerns are still there,” he said.

However, Sims said they were in a difficult position due to the lack of NOPD officers who could obtain personal information.

“To be fair, NOPD police officers have a hard time knowing the details. It’s getting harder and harder to find an officer.”

The CEA has shown that patrol officers will be provided with a list of regulations specific to the French Quarter, but no additional training is required.

Pendleton said the reason for funding the Royal Street Patrol, rather than spending more on supplemental NOPD patrols, was due to the lack of available NOPD officers.

“I am [Supplemental Police Patrol Program] As much as I’m worried about my body [it]”Everyone is trying to find a way to make the French Quarter safer for everyone. I understand that NOPD’s resources are beyond tensions and limits.”

Regarding Elestad’s concerns about harassment and extruding street performers, Pendleton said it was not the goal of the program.

“The French Quarter without live performances would be boring,” Pendleton said. “We are not here to upset street musicians. It is part of the culture and structure of the French Quarter.”

Schultz said New Orleans and the company have similar attitudes.

“We don’t support anything that shuts down street performance because we don’t know the details of this CEA,” Schultz said.

But Pendleton said street performers can cross the line and be too destructive.

“For me, there is a huge difference between aggressive bread handling and street performers,” Pendleton said.

He couldn’t define that distinction, but said, “I see it,” he said, and one key to the success of the program was to adjust it in response to feedback. ..

“We are trying to be fair,” he said. “At the same time, a street performer can’t turn four speakers towards his building and sound it at the concert level of the stadium …. balance is needed.”

He said safety is also important for street performers.

“See, these musicians and performers, they sometimes go wild. People steal money, steal equipment. They also want to play in a safe environment.”

Pendleton also defended Pincus’ adoption and gave the job a unique and valuable experience by managing the program in the previous iteration, which began in 2017. And he said the open bidding process would take too long.

“More importantly was timing. All of these processes are good, but time consuming. But the need for police officers on the street is now. If even suspicious behavior had some history, We wouldn’t have done that. But we know him, we know what they did. He has a strong connection with the French Quarter and knows this neighborhood. increase.”

“Sometimes you have to make the best decision in front of you at that time, and there was no reason not to give Matthew this opportunity because his family happened to be involved in Hotel Monteleone.” Said Pendleton.

Pendleton hopes that Royal Street Patrol is only a temporary solution, as NOPD has solved the staffing problem and started patrols more consistently, requiring no special police details. Said.

“At some point, the city needs to be able to provide security without the emergence of all the different districts around the city, such as Lake View, Midcity, Garden District, etc. Who is it because it is not supported by NOPD? Are popping up these additional security districts. At some point, we all need a city to undo NOPD. “

Expanded ‘Royal Street Patrol’ will soon launch to deter ‘aggressive panhandling, inebriants, and illegal sales’ Source link Expanded ‘Royal Street Patrol’ will soon launch to deter ‘aggressive panhandling, inebriants, and illegal sales’

Back to top button