New Orleans lost about 500 police officers after Hurricane Katrina, and it is having trouble recruiting enough new officers to take their place. Four months ago, to fill that gap, a new private police force, staffed by off-duty New Orleans cops, started patrolling the streets of the French Quarter. The French Quarter Task Force relies on citizens reporting crimes or potential trouble by tapping on their smartphones, using an app that, like Uber, alerts the nearest officer, who responds in a specially modified 4-wheeler.
The French Quarter Task Force receives funding from the tourism board, but also accepts donations; it was started by local sanitation magnate Sidney Torres, who put $380,000 of his own money into the endeavor. Residents tell The Associated Press that the private police force has made a big dent in a recent crime spree in the French Quarter. You can read more about the task force, and Torres, at The New York Times Magazine, and see the force in action in the AP video below. Peter Weber
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