The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) has become notorious for outrageous response times when trying to address crime in the city.
Back in October, a group of New Orleans Advocate reporters released data showing that in 2015, police response times in the city had nearly tripled to unprecedented highs, ending up with an average response time of a full hour and 19 minutes.
It turns out, the NOPD has brought those same response times to Sidney Torres’ French Quarter Task Force, which he created in response to a public feud with Mayor Mitch Landrieu over the area’s crime problem.
In a statement today, Torres said that response times for his French Quarter Task Force, ever since the NOPD and French Quarter Management District have begun taking it over, have risen to NOPD response time levels.
Torres said on average, it is now taking officers 17 minutes to assign calls from residents to themselves, something that Torres says is just a matter of pushing a button on their phones.
“That’s too long; it used to happen instantly,” Torres said.
GPS data from the French Quarter Task Force, according to Torres, also shows that once a call is assigned, it is sometimes taking NOPD officers over an hour to respond to the reported crime and location. Torres called the response time “totally unacceptable.”
Torres cited an incident that occurred yesterday, on Ash Wednesday, when a man was reported via photo of robbing a local shop in the French Quarter. In that case, Torres said it took NOPD an entire hour to just get to the scene.
Torres also said that not all shifts for the French Quarter Task Force are being filled, saying “That’s just not good management. There’s $75,000 tax dollars being paid every month to fund the operation. Where is this money going?”
Though there are shortcomings ever since the NOPD began taking over Torres’ private police force, the business mogul admits that the over concept of the police is still working as it did when he was managing it.
For instance, this is the first Mardi Gras where residents and tourists are able to report crimes and suspicious activity in progress, complete with photos and GPS location markers directly to police officers in the area. In the past, calls went to 911, were then routed to a police dispatcher, who then relayed the information to an officer on patrol.
Just in the last week and a half of Carnival, the French Quarter Task Force app was used to address 118 crimes ranging from suspicious persons and vandalism to theft, drug-dealing, and assault, and all of them in the French Quarter’s six by 13 block area.
Last month, Torres lambasted the NOPD publicly for what he called “inadequate oversight” of the crime operation.
The Hayride printed that public letter by Torres here.