NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell wrapped up her final District A budget town hall on Thursday night, this time in Lakeview. With the meeting came homeowners with plenty of questions, but perhaps the biggest question that lingered surrounded staffing issues within the city.
“We are currently operating with 60 percent of our current staffing. I want you to think about that for a minute, 60 percent of the number of EMS providers to make the city safe and healthy,” New Orleans EMS Director Dr. Meg Marino explained.
But, the topic on everyone’s minds was crime and the dwindling force at the NOPD.
“The New Orleans Police Department continues to fight a good fight day in and day out but there has to be some level of accountability,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. “The fact that our criminals do not believe there are consequences to their actions makes them more bold and brazen.”
Perhaps the most shocking moment of the rather laid-back event was the final question — when Mayor Cantrell was asked about public safety and the future of Mardi Gras 2023.
“If we don’t have adequate police, it could mean that there will be no Mardi Gras — and that’s a fact. If our officers cannot be safe, then there’s no way that our city will be safe,” said Cantrell.
The Mayor went on to say the NOPD is focusing on recruitment and retention and urged New Orleanians who are interested in protecting and serving the community to join the force.