NOPD

Residents and businesses in the French Quarter will be holding a rally Tuesday in Jackson Square, calling for more police protection. 

They want action by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey and New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison.

Landrieu asked Governor Bobby Jindal on Friday to send troopers to support the city while it works to fill vacancies in police department ranks.

The head of state police tells Nola.com/The Times-Picayune that option would leave other parts of the state short-handed.

The New Orleans Police Department set out this year to show that the city's 2013 homicide numbers, the lowest in nearly three decades, were not a fluke.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that as of late Wednesday afternoon, New Orleans had recorded 150 homicides in 2014. That’s a marginal decrease from the 156 counted in 2013. Officials say it is encouraging sign.

Homicides fell 19 percent from 2012 to 2013.

City leaders say they had not aimed to reduce the city's murder rate by any specific percentage in 2014.

French Quarter residents are warning people to walk in groups to avoid violent crime.

They posted signs in the neighborhood that say, “Caution. Walk in Large Groups. We (Heart) NOPD. We Just Need More.”

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says he’s temporarily assigning an eight-person task force to the Quarter. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says state and federal agencies should contribute more resources. He says the area generates sales tax that benefits the state, and is a national historic district.

New Orleans police training is being slammed for passing on bad behavior.

A report by court-appointed monitors finds recruits are mimicking their predecessors — in a bad way.

The New Orleans Advocate reports monitors found recruits are getting inadequate lesson plans, poor teachers and weak leadership.

The monitors were appointed by the court to oversee reforms detailed in a federal consent decree.

The recruits are expected to refresh and improve the shrunken department.

New Orleans police now say that only about half of more than 400 untested rape kits may need testing.

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said over the weekend that the department is storing 220 of 429 kits. Most of the stored kits are from people who got tested by medical personnel but declined to press charges.

The untested rape kits were disclosed during a New Orleans City Council hearing last week on failings in the department's handling of rape and child abuse cases.

The embattled New Orleans Police Department sex crimes unit is facing more criticism.

The unit commander tells a city council committee that more than 400 rape kits remain untested.

The New Orleans Advocate reports the announcement comes from Commander Paul Noel. He had been praised in the past for clearing a backlog of 800 kits gathering dust in the evidence room.

But he left that job in 2011. He says the backlog has grown in his absence.

The unit was slammed last month in an Inspector General’s report that found hundreds of cases were not investigated.

The New Orleans Police Department evidence room has tightened controls since $200,000 went missing five years ago.

But an Inspector General’s report finds some evidence in criminal cases remains at "high risk of theft or misplacement."

The 29-page report found the evidence room is plagued by a lack of documentation, poor record-keeping and vague guidelines.

It says staff members fail to conduct inventories each year and whenever a key-holder position changes. The report says that violates best practices and NOPD policy. 

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison has placed five officers on administrative reassignment while an investigation is made into their actions as detectives in the Special Victims Section.

The Public Integrity Bureau is investigating each officer based on an Office of Inspector General inquiry.

The Inspector General report found evidence suggesting the officers weren't doing their job. Specifically – they’re accused of labeling sex crimes as “miscellaneous” and following up on only a fraction of those cases.

Civilians will soon be helping to keep the peace in the French Quarter.

The New Orleans City Council okayed an arrangement with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau to start the program called “NOLA Patrol.”

The New Orleans Advocate reports a voluntary hotel tax will raise $1.6 million this year and $2.3 million next year to pay for the service.

The money will fund unarmed civilian patrols to enforce traffic, zoning and other neighborhood rules. It’s hoped they will give more time for regular police officers to handle more serious matters.

The New Orleans City Council is rethinking the idea of using unarmed citizen patrols in the French Quarter.

Some businesses in the city’s premier tourist destination want to know why actual police officers aren’t being hired.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu wanted to use voluntary hotel taxes to fund the patrols. The civilian officers would handle non-emergency matters, in theory — easing the workload for regular officers.

But several businesses are questioning why the city wouldn’t spend $2.3 million in annual revenue to hire fully qualified police officers.

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