by Latoya Burnham
Police say their interventions are breaking up the warring factions that have resulted in several persons being shot or otherwise injured in the New Orleans area within the last week or so.
And as early as tomorrow, residents could awake to a new mobile outpost in the area.
During a walk-through of New Orleans, the City, this evening, Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin told media that since the upsurge in criminal activity there had been several patrols through area.
As a result, he said he believed it was having some impact.
“As you know we have made some arrests as well, so we are making some headway in addressing some of the disorder in this area. My primary purpose for this visit is to interact with some of the residents, and also along with my officers identify an area to site a mobile police station.
“I believe that this is absolutely necessary at this stage to have a visible police presence in this area. It will serve as a location for our patrols and it will also serve as a point of interaction with the residents,” said Dottin, as he stopped in the 7th Avenue and residents came from every direction to observe his progress through the neighbourhood.
The interaction with residents, he added, was one of the intended outcomes of the increased patrols as well as his own personal sojourn.
He said that his interaction with the residents as well today had been “very good” and several had come forward to share their views.
“I must say so far this afternoon as we walk the community, we have had very good interaction with the residents. They are speaking about having a truce among the warring factions and of course we will be working assiduously to bring some peace to this area. After this initial intervention, I will be expecting the officer who has responsibility for this area to maintain effective and regular patrols in this area…
“There was an atmosphere of fear that I believe our work over the last couple days is breaking and it can only get better. People will be less fearful and once we remove the reason for their fear, they will talk to us freely.”
The top cop said he had been hoping the temporary mobile station would have been set up today, but there were issues that had to be sorted first.
“I’m disappointed with my officers because I wanted it to be sited today but I understand that there were some logistical issues to find the right location. As you can see this is a very densely populated area but we have located an area and hopefully with the permission of the landowner I would wish it to be in place by tomorrow morning, no later than tomorrow morning. So I will be pressing my officers very hard to have it in place by tomorrow.”
He said too that he was not relying on police alone to quell the disturbance and create an atmosphere of peace in New Orleans, but called on community groups to get involved.
“I had some discussions yesterday with a very interested person and that person was suggesting that perhaps we could engage some of the service clubs in Barbados to assist us in doing what we call community audits.
“That is an exercise in which we identify issues that could lead to disorder or breaches of the law or criminality and we believe that as part of our modern policing that we have to do those types of audits and I think it is a very good idea that we should have those audits and involve NGOs and other groups in Barbados to assist us in what we are doing here.
“As I said previously, as an agency we are going to be limited with the full range of interventions that are needed in communities like these and we will be specifying what is required and we will be trying to form alliances with other interested groups to deal with some of these issues,” said Dottin.
Dottin was accompanied on the visit by Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Thompson, Assistant Commissioner Oral Williams and Acting Assistant Commissioner Erwin Boyce, as well as Public Relations Officer Inspector David Welch.