Amid historic stretch of events, NOPD gears up for second wave of Carnival

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 11:13 AM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- With the Super Bowl in town, over the last few days, the New Orleans Police Department called into action a plan it spent a year building.

"Every single day, anywhere from 400 to 800 officers were being assigned, deployed, monitored," said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

With no major incidents reported, Serpas said the strategies paid off.

"I have never been more proud in my life of a group of police officers and support staff," he said.

Serpas also praised the manpower support that several federal, state and local departments have provided.

There's no time to rest, however, as officers must now continue a stretch of beefed up patrols that began Jan. 20, ahead of the first wave of Mardi Gras parades.

"The vast majority of our department focuses on filling the neighborhoods first. We filled all the neighborhoods and to do that, we had to go to 12-hour shifts," Serpas said. "We're having eight to 10 people every day, in every district, all throughout the city -- that's 70, 80, 90 officers out answering the radio during their 12-hour shift, which quite honestly, is a bit more than what we usually have, and that's because we're limiting days off and we're using overtime to have more resources available."

The extended shifts help to free up the manpower you see across the downtown area and along parade routes during these major events.

It all adds up to the kind of high stakes work that the NOPD has faced many times before, but Serpas point out that this current stretch is unprecedented.

"Never has this department been asked to do so much, and they have delivered," he said. "I think that (officers and support staff) want to be good at what they do and I think they certainly take a pride -- a deep felt pride, a DNA in your blood pride -- of being the best crowd-control department in the world and this year, we added being the most welcoming police department in the world. That's what drives them.”

Monday, officials said the current big-event operations plan is still underway, and will continue throughout the remainder of Carnival.

Normal operations resume Sunday, Feb. 17.

 

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