The NOPD, Louisiana State Police and the FBI today updated media on the efforts of the agencies’ joint Violent Crime Abatement Investigation Team, or VCAIT, in their mission to combat violent crime in New Orleans.
Since the multi-agency unit’s inception earlier this fall, its efforts have led to the following achievements:
- Eight felony arrests, including one arrest for an armed robbery incident, and one misdemeanor arrest.
- Arrests for offenses include possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of stolen property and theft of a motor vehicle over $25,000 in value.
- Recovery of three stolen vehicles. Just yesterday (December 16), VCAIT members assisted in the recovery of two vehicles reported stolen during carjacking incidents. The driver of one of those vehicles was apprehended with a handgun.
- 22 search warrants executed.
- Three arrest warrants executed.
- 11 guns seized.
Earlier this year, Superintendent Ferguson directed NOPD Deputy Superintendent John Thomas to restructure the NOPD’s Field Operations Bureau. In this restructure was born VCAIT, whose goal is to reduce overall violent crimes such as non-fatal shootings, homicides, aggravated assaults and armed robberies through intelligence driven and mission-led investigations. Formed in October, this new team includes agents from the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office and troopers from the Louisiana State Police, both law enforcement agencies who have always been consistent and supportive partners of the NOPD.
“This is another way local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are using collective tools and techniques to be more effective in the fight against violent crime,” Ferguson said.
Bryan Vorndran, special agent in charge of the FBI New Orleans Field Office, said that VCAIT includes intelligence specialists from all three agencies comparing data and trends of violent crimes in order to better develop cases.
“As Superintendent Ferguson mentioned, the goal (of VCAIT) is to disrupt the persistent criminal activity and dismantle criminal networks,” Vorndran said.
Newly appointed Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Lamar Davis echoed the sentiments of Ferguson and Vordran, adding that VCAIT’s intelligence gathering has proven to be a valuable tool in aiding investigation of violent crimes in New Orleans.
“Intelligence gathering and information sharing has been key to a successful relationship with our law enforcement partners,” Davis said. “Our collective teamwork actually taps into all of our unique capabilities. We will continue to build upon that.”
Vorndran said that he is “very, very happy” with the results seen in the two months since VCAIT has been in operation. This includes work in the Second District to solve multiple active carjacking cases.
“The collaborative effort resulted in the recovery of six vehicles and the apprehension of four subjects,” Vorndran said.
Ferguson said that while the unit has only been in operation for a few months, the results produced are only the beginning of the agencies’ efforts to help reduce violent crime.
“There are many more cases that remain under active investigation by VCAIT, and results from those investigations will be made public at the appropriate time,” he said.
Even with these accomplishments, Superintendent Ferguson said, the agencies recognize that there is much more work to be done in curtailing violent crime in New Orleans, not only by law enforcement agencies.
“We continue to expand the scope of our investigatory and crime fighting capabilities,” he said. “Like everything else, the way we fight crime must continue to evolve and adapt and we must always look for better ways to be more efficient and effective. Through our collective efforts, we expect to have a greater impact in our fight against violent crime.”