NEWORLEANS- This summer Governor Bobby Jindal approved 50 extra Louisiana State Troopers to help patrol the streets of New Orleans through Labor Day weekend.
State and city officials now confirm the additional manpower will be sticking around well past the September 1 deadline.
You've likely observed the extra blue uniforms and hats patrolling the French Quarter, Marigny, Central Business District, and other tourist attractions across the city. The additional manpower was approved by Jindal at the Landrieu Administration's request.
The goal was to have troopers leave by the end of Labor Day weekend, but now that has changed.
'They have assured us that they are not doing an entire withdrawal from the city,' said NOPD Interim Superintendent Michael Harrison.
The NOPD confirms behind-the-scenes negotiations are being hammered out between the police department, city, LSP and the governor's office. The aim is to continue having extra state police assist with law enforcement patrols in tourist areas.
'We've agreed on a systematic reduction that will take us through the latter part of the year,' said Harrison. Sources tell Eyewitness News specific numbers of state troopers and a more permanent plan of action is expected to be made public next week.
The city says permanently assigning 100 state troopers to New Orleans would provide the necessary security for both tourists and citizens. While state and local agencies look to improve police presence in New Orleans citizens and business owners are moving forward with security details of their own.
'We need a visible police presence. It deters crime,' said Bob Simms with the French Quarter Management District. In the French Quarter, 54 businesses recently agreed to shell out $10,000 per week to hire off-duty officers to patrol six blocks of Bourbon Street.
'Start putting officers on the street, off-duty officers. 12 noon until 6 o'clock in the morning some days. Predominant force will be there 7 o'clock in the evening until 3 o'clock in the morning, 7 days a week,' said Simms of their plan.
Simms says the pilot program is expected to last six months until more permanent funding is secured. This week, the Landrieu Administration also announced the creation of a 'Nola Patrol' which would be made up of 50 civilian grounds patrol officers responsible for traffic control and other non-emergency tasks.
It would be funded by a hospitality hotel/motel tax. From local government to private citizens --- the need for more security continues to be a top priority in curbing city crime even if troopers pull out completely.
'They'll still have adequate protection and there's no need for alarm,' said Harrison if extra state police patrols leave. The Landrieu Administration says it has asked the governor for continued LSP support. The city says providing a high level of police protection and security during high-profile tourist events continues to puts a significant demand on local police resources.