An initiative by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to create a 50-member, unarmed group of officers, known as “NOLA Patrol” will likely be fining smokers for smoking indoors if the New Orleans City Council votes next week to establish a smoking ban across the city for all businesses, bars and public places.
Essentially, NOLA Patrol, according to Landrieu, will free-up New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Officers by taking over issues in the city like traffic issues and code enforcement.
One issue NOLA Patrol will not be helping with is fighting crime in the city, which has gotten progressively worse over the last couple of months, specifically in the French Quarter.
However, NOLA Patrol members will be receiving a salary of $25,000 a year, which has had many residents and New Orleans public figures question why Landrieu would spend money like that on an unarmed police force, when he could be spending it on the under-funded and short-staffed NOPD.
The city is set to dish out approximately $2.3 million to the NOLA Patrol, which set of local business owners last year, as they wondered why the city would spend money on an unarmed police force. The funding for NOLA Patrol derives from a hospitality-industry fund, according to NOLA.com.
And with the prospects of an overreaching smoking ban throughout the city, the question has been brought up about who is actually going to enforce this smoking ban, which will likely hit smokers with a $50 fine.
Well, according to New Orleans City Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell’s proposal, business owners will be the enforcers of the smoking ban. They will be allowed to refuse service to individuals who smoke inside their establishment. And if the business owners don’t mind smokers in their establishment, they will get hit with a fine from the city, which could range up to $100. Additional offenses by a business owner could go up to $500.
So, if the smoking ban is passed by the City Council, Landrieu and the council have decided that the NOLA Patrol will take on the task of fining smokers and keeping them out of public parks and whatnot.
But, we question if Landrieu of the City Council has ever wondered what this unarmed patrol group will do if they run into a situation where they are facing individuals who are armed and dangerous?
NOLA Patrol is solving no problems for the city. Crime will not be decreased, but smoking will be. However, which one is the bigger problem?