New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley used the floor of the Superdome yesterday to display more than $1 million in new armament and other equipment, largely for use by the SWAT squad in emergency and riot situations, including a fully equipped mobile command post, two armored cars, and modern assault rifles, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Nearly all the equipment was financed from a $6.6 million state allocation that was earmarked for crime-fighting items or strategies.
The city officials said the new equipment reflected a determination by the Police Department to root out and arrest criminals and make New Orleans safer, as well as to help police handle any emergency situation encountered. The money will also pay for 600 bullet-proof vests. The 27- and 14-ton armored cars, costing about $380,000 and $270,000 respectively, will provide cover to officers in SWAT situations and help them safely evacuate citizens from dangerous situations, Riley said. City police have never had a “state-of-the-art” command post for SWAT and other situations. ,Nagin used the occasion to welcome the NBA All-Star game to New Orleans, scheduled for Sunday night at the New Orleans Arena.