NEW ORLEANS -- Dozens of state troopers are now expected to remain in New Orleans through November.
'You're going to continue to see us in the French Quarter area, walking the streets,' said Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson as he made the announcement at a Thursday afternoon news conference in the French Quarter. 'You're going to continue to see cars patrolling.'
The LSP started patrolling the city after the July 3, mass shooting on Bourbon Street that left one person dead and nine others injured.
Troopers were supposed to remain in the city through Labor Day, but city leaders asked them to stay a little longer as the manpower-strapped NOPD continues to recruit new officers.
'I want to give the chief and the city of New Orleans the things they need, the tools in their toolbox, to be successful, and you can continue to see a presence of Louisiana State Police and the department of Public Safety in this city to make a difference,' said Edmonson.
'We know the state police is making great sacrifices to help the city of New Orleans,' said Interim NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison.
Over the past eight weeks, state troopers assigned to the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods responded to more than 1,600 calls for service. They made more than 500 arrests, seized nearly $1 million in illegal narcotics, another $900,000 in suspected drug money and 45 illegal firearms.
'Those suspects are not on the streets,' said Harrison. 'Those drugs are not on the streets. We've affected the citizens and hopefully and hopefully their quality of life will begin to get better.'
People who live and work in and around the French Quarter appreciate the stepped up police patrols.
'I wish they could stay forever because we don't have enough police officers,' said Carol Gemelli from Sotheby's Realty in the Marigny. 'It's so nice to have that presence and to feel more secure because, you know these neighborhoods, we've had some issues and it's a little frightening.'
There is expected to be a phased withdrawal of troopers in New Orleans between now and November. The exact number of troopers on patrol will be determined by what going on in the city at the time.
'I told the chief this morning, if he needs the cavalry, we're coming,' said Edmonson. 'We will be here.'
Edmonson also left open the possibility of extending the deployment in some form even longer, if needed.