A deployment of 150 Louisiana State Police troopers and Department of Public Safety officers will descend on the New Orleans area to assist the city's police force during Mardi Gras, authorities announced Wednesday (Jan. 21).
LSP Superintendent Col Mike Edmonson and NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison are scheduled to meet next week to finalize plans for the deployment. But authorities said the LSP contingent would likely include uniformed officers in the French Quarter and CBD, as well as increased traffic patrols and plain-clothed officers focused on weapons, drugs and human trafficking offenses.
"While we have provided carnival support for more than three-and-a-half decades, our commitment and assistance to the police department goes back even further," Edmonson said in a release. "Lest we forget, troopers have a presence in the city each and every day, and my command officers are continually engaged in communications and complimentary law enforcement operations throughout the year."
Calls from Mayor Mitch Landrieu for a permanent deployment of troopers in New Orleans have been met with a consistent reply from Edmonson, and his comments in announcing the state police Mardi Gras deployment continued that refrain.
"I wish we could do more. However, we have responsibilities to communities large and small across the state that also celebrate Mardi Gras," Edmonson said in the release. "Indeed none of our support would be possible without the help we receive from the state's 64 sheriffs and over 330 police chiefs.
"I have to acknowledge that it would simply not be possible to take officers from the various troops around the state if we could not rely on local agencies to supplement our calls for service. And for that I am grateful."