National firm declines request to assist in search for NOPD chief
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A national police chief recruiting firm has declined the New Orleans City Council’s request to assist in the search for a permanent police chief.
Two weeks after the council sent a letter to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), asking for help in the search for a permanent chief, PERF told council members it won’t get involved.
“Unfortunately PERF declined. That was disappointing, but we will still continue to search for a qualified candidate,” said Councilmember Helena Moreno.
The PERF rejection sent the council back to the drawing board at Thursday’s (Jan. 5) meeting. Councilmembers are now taking a new approach in their search for permanent NOPD leadership.
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All seven council members approved a resolution calling for the formation of a blue ribbon panel to oversee a national search for a permanent chief.
“We have recruiting campaigns to get people to apply to be a cop inside and outside of New Orleans. Why should it be any different for the chief?’ asked Councilmember Joe Giarrusso.
The council is also looking at possibly doubling the pay of the permanent chief to as high as $300,000 a year.
“If you’re going to solicit interest across the nation to come be the chief of New Orleans, you have to at least match the national average,” said Councilmember J.P. Morrell.
Whatever the council decides to do on the police chief search, at some point they will need buy-in from the mayor, who according to the city charter is the only person with the power to appoint a police chief.
“There’s concern that a national search would just be a sham and that the decision has already been made by the mayor, but I can tell you that the council is very committed,” said Moreno.
Moreno says the Cantrell administration hasn’t done enough to stop the bloodshed, and she’s calling for daily updates on crime and a state of emergency declaration, similar to the way the city handles hurricanes.
“This should be a state of emergency where you have your entire staff treat it like it is a hurricane... dealing with this crisis,” said Moreno.
“I think it’s at a high level, but not at what we can’t handle with the staff I’ve put together,” said Interim Chief Michelle Woodfork at a Thursday afternoon news conference.
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Woodfork promised a new crime plan in the coming weeks, making it clear she wants to be considered when it comes to the search for a permanent chief.
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