New Orleans Police Ask Governor to Extend Guardsmen
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2006 New Orleans police officials have requested Louisiana National Guardsmen remain on state active duty for another six months, a Guard spokesman said.
Air Guard Lt. Col. Peter Schneider confirmed that New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren J. Riley has asked Gov. Katherine Blanco to extend the tours of 300 Guardsmen through June 2007.
Guardsmen have been patrolling neighborhoods in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged city since June, when five teenagers were killed over one weekend. If the governor does not extend the tours, the state deployment will end by the end of December.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, six people were killed in New Orleans.
The request has gone to Blanco. The governor’s office wants a better plan for how the city will use the Guardsmen. Currently, Guardsmen patrol deserted areas of the city allowing New Orleans police to concentrate on high-crime areas. “If approved, we will keep doing this,” Schneider said.