Facing a critical manpower shortage, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas is asking the state to permanently assign state troopers to handle enforcement along the I-10 system in the city of New Orleans.
Speaking at a town hall meeting on crime prevention in the French Quarter and Treme, Serpas says such a move would free up as many as a half-dozen NOPD officers each day.
"We have asked multiple times for the state of Louisiana to direct and allow the state police to handle the interstate system in New Orleans would save us 4 to 6 cops everyday, all day," he said.
50 state troopers presently are involved in patrolling the city, but the expanded deployment of troopers in New Orleans is scheduled to end on Labor Day.
The superintendent told those attending the meeting that there has been a significant reduction in the number of officers working in the 8th District, which includes the French Quarter and the Central Business District.
"When (Commander) Jeff Walls took over the 8th District three-and-a-half years ago, there were more than 160 police officers in the 8th District. Today, we have a little bit under a hundred."
Serpas notes that a class of recruits is currently undergoing training and that he hopes to have an additional two classes of recruits by the end of the year.
The chief believes the criminal justice system needs to get more aggressive in dealing with those who have repeatedly been charged with weapons violations.
"What's going to drive violent crime reduction in the city of New Orleans, is these officers not having to arrest the same people, over and over and over and over again for carrying a gun on our streets."