NEW ORLEANS – With troubling statistics showing a rise in shootings, as well as shootings that are fatal, the NOPD has assembled a new unit whose specific goal is targeting people committing gun violence.
Through March 5, 2017, the city of New Orleans has seen 143 shooting victims and 38 killings. The murder total is twice the total of 2016 as of this date. Crime analyst Jeff Asher said that the city is on pace for a 33 percent hike in shootings and a 32 percent hike in murders.
The new unit will consist of eight officers and one sergeant taken from the district stations. The new unit will also be part of the Tactical Intelligence Gathering Enforcement Response team which recently targeted armed robbery suspects. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says he has seen those operations succeed, and hopes to parlay that into this unit.
"And now we're creating a new team that follows and it's going to be specifically designed to go after people who are committing gun violence," said Harrison.
The officers lost to the districts will be ‘back-filled.’ Harrison also revealed the plans for the new unit have been in the works for a while, but it was thanks a new graduating class of recruits that made it possible for experienced officers to be moved.
"If violence is what you choose to do, then we are coming for you," he said.
But this won't change investigations around too much. As far as district detectives go, they will remain the primary investigators on non-fatal shootings. The new tactical squad will help them build cases and concentrate on finding shooters.