Head of New Orleans police academy to be next chief
Cmdr. Shaun Ferguson will replace New Orleans Superintendent Michael Harrison, who is becoming Baltimore's new police chief
NEW ORLEANS — The head of New Orleans' police academy will be the city's next police chief, the mayor announced Monday.
Cmdr. Shaun Ferguson's promotion to superintendent will mean "we can make the best transition possible," Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a livestreamed news conference.
He will replace Superintendent Michael Harrison, who announced last week that he is retiring Friday after 27 years in the department and four years as superintendent to become police chief in Baltimore.
Ferguson said that under Harrison, "We have come a long way. There is much work that is still needed to be done but we have come a very long way."
Ferguson also said he is committed to continuing to meet terms of a consent decree with the federal Justice Department. That agreement was reached in 2012 after decades of scandals involving corruption or questionable use of force.
"To our citizens: I've served you for 21 years, and I'm looking forward to serving you even longer," said Ferguson, 46.
Ferguson thanked Harrison for his leadership and mentoring, noting he was the first commander Harrison sent to the Police Executive Research Forum's senior management institute in Boston after Harrison was appointed superintendent.
"He has prepared himself," Harrison said.
The number of homicides in New Orleans dropped to a 47-year low last year, coupled with a 28 percent drop in the number of non-deadly shootings. Ferguson wouldn't talk about how he plans to continue the trend, saying he wants to consult with Harrison and see how what Harrison had in mind meshes with his own ideas.
Ferguson said he wanted to tell current and future recruits that his promotion shows the department is a place of growth and opportunity.
"Join our team," he said. "Keep your dreams ahead of you; keep striving, keep pushing, and you can make things happen."