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NOPD going all hands on deck for Mardi Gras

"The department never fails to shine when it comes to Mardi Gras."

NEW ORLEANS — It is all hands on deck for NOPD through the two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras. 

It's no secret that New Orleans police are stretched thin as they face record low numbers of officers, but as we approach Mardi Gras, a plan is in place for officers to work parade routes while working the rest of the city.

Despite whats been called a catastrophic police shortage in New Orleans, you will still see an adequate number of officers along parade routes, according to former NOPD officer and current Fraternal Order of Police attorney, Donovan Livaccari.

"The department never fails to shine when it comes to Mardi Gras. So, I'm sure that even though there are additional stresses on man power, the NOPD will step up and make sure Mardi Gras is handled effectively," he said.

Every carnival season, the NOPD puts together a Mardi Gras incident plan. It goes into effect Friday, Feb. 18 through Mardi Gras day. During this time, officers will often work 12 hour shifts.

"It's all hands on deck," Livaccari said.

And according to a copy of the plan, several officers will work Endymion or Bacchus before or after their normal 12 hour shift to assist with the large crowd.

"Overtime is more of a premium, it’s a necessity really to make up for the man power lost over the last few years," Livaccari said.

"Traditionally, and again this year, NOPD will be activated 100 percent throughout Mardi Gras," City of New Orleans Communications Director Beau Tidwell said.

This year, the City shortened and adjusted parade routes to ensure there will be enough officers along the routes.

"Shortening the routes and making the routes consistent for each parade helps a lot," Livaccari said.

The route for Chewbacchus was shortened Saturday, but that's because not enough detail officers volunteered to work that parade. That's different than the larger parades leading up to Mardi Gras day that fall under what's called a "city roll."

"A city roll is when NOPD is activated 100 percent, all officers are on duty through the duration and that’s when we’ll see full staffing up and down the route throughout the event," Tidwell explained.

City leaders appear confident in their plans.

"Yes, absolutely. We're going to do everything in our power to make it safe," Tidwell said.

"They'll pull it off, I'm confident, They're good at what they do," Livaccari said.

The city says Chief Ferguson, NOFD, and will have more details on their plan at a press conference next Monday.

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