Sidney Torres IV invests $300,000-plus for private French Quarter security; Mitch Landrieu to push for tax increase to fund policing _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A pilot policing program funded by Sidney Torres with approval from the Mayor's Office got underway recently. The eight-week pilot program will deploy from one to three off-duty NOPD officers per shift, with the larger contingents at night. The cops, assigned by the cityÕs Office of Police Secondary Employment, will roam three coverage areas in the Quarter, but not Bourbon Street. The vehicle the officers will use were debuted at the Eigth District Police Station at Conti and Royal. Commander Jeff Walls checks out the carts officers will drive.

Setting up a police force that was conceptualized and financed by a single individual, with government support, is a unique approach to fighting crime, according to an article on the New York Times website.

With the second highest murder rate in the country, New Orleans neighborhoods are facing a constant stream of violence and crimes, and French Quarter residents feel turning to Sidney Torres' French Quarter Taks Force is a better option than calling 911.

Torres said he has spent more than $300,000 building what he believes is a better mousetrap for French Quarter protection, one he now wants the city to pony up to keep going even as he keeps his hand on the day-to-day operations.

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