Ronal Serpas stepping down from NOPD

FOX 8 file photo
FOX 8 file photo
Lt. Michael Harrison, FOX 8 file photo
Lt. Michael Harrison, FOX 8 file photo

New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas announced his retirement from the NOPD on Monday.

Lt. Michael Harrison will replace Serpas as Interim Superintendent.

"I want to thank Mayor Landrieu for giving me the opportunity to come back home to New Orleans to lead the fine men and women of the NOPD," said Serpas. "This has been a great run under very difficult circumstances. When I came back in 2010, we needed dramatic changes. Together with Mayor Landrieu and the brave men and women of the force, we have turned this department around and laid a strong foundation for the future."

Loyola University released a statement saying that Serpas will be joining the staff of the Criminal Justice Department. Serpas returns to Loyola's faculty after teaching graduate and undergraduate courses from 1993 to 2001.

Serpas stated that he felt no pressure to step down as superintendent. He will collect $142,118.88 a year in retirement effective on Tuesday.

"As a native New Orleanian, there is nothing I am more committed to doing than ensuring the success of this department and the safety of our city, and I can assure you that I will continue to be involved in that fight," he added.

Mayor Landrieu thanked Serpas for his dedication to the city and for his efforts to build a foundation for the future for the New Orleans Police Department.

"Making our city safe is my top priority, and I am proud to have worked with Chief Serpas over the past four years as he led this department through very challenging circumstances and turned this department around," Mayor Landrieu said. "I want to thank Chief Serpas and his family for their service and sacrifice."

Prior to returning to New Orleans, Serpas served as Chief of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department for six years, where he oversaw a reduction in violent crime each year under his tenure. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Police for the Washington State Patrol.

Upon his departure, current Seventh District Commander Michael Harrison, 45, will be appointed as Interim Superintendent.

"Commander Harrison has demonstrated strong, community-focused leadership during his tenure as Seventh District Commander. During this transition, I am confident he will be able to scale the focus on building trust with the community citywide to improve public safety," Landrieu said.

Commander Harrison has been with the NOPD for over 23 years. Harrison has served as Commander of Seventh District, overseeing police services for eastern New Orleans since January 2012. Under his watch, the 7th District experienced crime reductions in 2012 and 2013.

"I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to help lead this department through this transition. I believe policing is one of the noblest professions," said Harrison. "The men and women of this department put their lives on the line each and every day. Public safety is at the core of our city, intersecting with quality of life, education, economic development and community pride, so we must continue to work to improve the relationship between NOPD and our community and will continue to make our streets safer."

The announcement from Serpas comes just days after council member Jason Williams told  FOX 8 that leadership, not pay, was the problem with NOPD.

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