New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell has tapped NOPD commander Shaun Ferguson to become the city’s next chief of police.
Ferguson is a 21-year veteran of the police department and the current leader of the NOPD academy, which trains new recruits. Cantrell tapped him to replace outgoing chief Michael Harrison, who is leaving to lead the police force in Baltimore.
Major cities often use search committees to conduct national searches for police chiefs, but Cantrell says New Orleans "did not need to do a search committee." She says listening sessions and other disucssions during her mayoral transition left her "very much prepared to make this decision."
"The leadership is within the NOPD. I’ve identified it, and we will have a great next chief leading the New Orleans Police Department in commander Ferguson."
Cantrell says she selected Ferguson because he's known for being "fair, firm and friendly." She also says she sees Ferguson as committeed to police accountability under the federal consent decree. The NOPD has been under a federal consent decree since 2013 – when an investigation found a pattern of abuses by police.
"We would not have made the strides that we've seen with the consent decree without commander Ferguson," she said.
Ferguson says as chief he plans to make community engagement a priority.
"We must do this together, and we are committed to working together," he said.
He also said he’d prioritize compliance with the federal consent decree and "constitutional policing."
Ferguson will be sworn in on Friday.