NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell held a news conference on Wednesday, June 7.

The mayor discussed public safety, youth mental health, health equity and overall quality of life in the city.

Another topic that Mayor LaToya Cantrell discussed was DUI arrests.

Last year, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) made 69 DUI arrests, compared to 600 arrests five years ago. Why have DUI arrests taken a backseat?

“First of all, our focus is on violent crime, not that DUIs aren’t important. Definitely don’t want an innocent person being killed by drunk driver, absolutely not,” Cantrell said.

The reality is that the NOPD has a manpower issue.

With the NOPD’s ongoing staff shortages, officers are prioritizing violent crimes over traffic violations.

“That doesn’t mean we aren’t focusing on force multipliers, so we can free up response of officers to be redirected for other strategies like traffic and patrolling traffic,” she said.

Cantrell says the Louisiana State Police (LSP) has always helped, and will continue to do so, but they need more help.

“Just yesterday for example, the chief called me up and said there’s a shortage of state police to aid city with enforcement. She asked if we could look at overtime for LSP as we do for NOPD. Without a doubt, I said absolutely,” she said.

The mayor went on to say, “It is our hope to continue to get back or move forward with more deployment strategies for traffic patrols.”

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