Today, entrepreneur Sidney Torres, IV and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu unveiled the next step in a pioneering public-private partnership to tackle crime: more police officers patrolling the French Quarter and a new crime-fighting app for phones and tablets.
Torres remarked on the empowerment and unity signaled by the joint effort, saying, “I want to thank the mayor and his staff for working with us, Bob Simms and the French Quarter Management District, the New Orleans Police Department, and Col. Edmonson of the State Police. I also want to thank Sheriff Marlin Gusman, who is making preparations to accept additional transients who are found violating city law as well as the Louisiana SPCA who agreed to accept animals that have to be surrendered. This really is everyone working together. The message we send today is that the people of our city are united in the missionof keeping the French Quarter safe. The app empowers the people and the extra police presence ensures a response. We will not be bullied by criminals any more. We will work together: businesses, government, and private citizens. Everyone has a part to play and everyone will benefit from the results.”
At a press conference in front of the 8th District Police Station, Torres unveiled French Quarter Task Force, an app he designed to equip citizens with an easy way to report crimes and give the police added eyes and ears on the street. French Quarter Task Force will allow people quickly to capture photos of crimes or suspicious activities in progress and report them to the Louisiana State Police and the New Orleans Police who will monitor submissions. Out of love for the City of New Orleans, music artist Lenny Kravitz offered to let French Quarter Task Force use one of his songs as a way of encouraging people to download and use French Quarter Task Force, which is available in Apple’s App Store and the Android Marketplace (Google Play). Television advertising will alert the public to the app’s availability and encourage its use (YouTube link here).
There will also be more police on the street to respond. Torres is personally funding a pilot project adding threePolaris-equipped, off-duty New Orleans Police officers to patrol the French Quarter, and additional support will ensure funding through the end of the year. The mayor’s office is working to get the project funded through 2016.
Police officers working the extra detail will report to supervisors at the 8th District of the New Orleans Police. For added range and mobility, Torres has donated three Polaris vehicles.
“We’re taking a 360-degree approach to the problem,” Torres said. “The app, the officers, the vehicles, all of it with supervision from the city and financial support from the business community. Together, we can keep French Quarter safe.”