NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Next week, off-duty officers will be combing the French Quarter in All-Terrain Vehicles. Millionaire real-estate developer, Sidney Torres IV, is funding the extra patrols in an agreement he reached with the city.
In January, venture capitalist Sidney Torres told WGNO he was working on a plan to combat crime in the French Quarter. This came a month after his own home on Esplanade Avenue was burglarized the month before.
“We’re going to put things in place where people will see a visible difference and feel safe, be able to walk down the street and feel safe,” says Torres.
Now Torres and his partner Bob Simms are just days away from launching their own grassroots police force.
“We’re very short on NOPD officers so we need to put some additional supplemental police on the street to deter crime,” says Simms with the French Quarter Management District.
They started the French Quarter Task Force to fight crime. Torres will pay off-duty NOPD officers to patrol the French Quarter in Polaris ATV’s. Each will be assigned a zone. The plan is to have three officers in the quarter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The French Quarter Task Force also launched an app so you can report a crime and an officer on an ATV will come your way.
Sidney Torres is spending more than $100,000 of his own money to pay for the new patrols. This will only be for a two-month trial period. Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office says they’ll make an announcement about a long-term French Quarter safety plan next week.