Michael Harrison named NOPD chief

Michael Harrison named NOPD chief

Nearly two months after getting the call to take over as interim NOPD superintendent, Michael Harrison is now the department's leader.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu formally announced his decision to promote Harrison during a Night Out Against Crime event in Algiers on Tuesday.

"(Harrison) has been a leader in the community and he will be, in my opinion, a great chief for this police department," Landrieu said.

Former Supt. Ronal Serpas resigned in August, opening the door for Harrison's opportunity. The 23-year NOPD veteran was serving as Seventh District commander before replacing Serpas.

"The first thing I'm going to do is the same thing I've been doing - building relationships that were never built, and repairing the ones that were broken, and so, as I make my way around the city that's not going to stop. That will continue every day of my career," Harrison said moments after Landrieu's announcement.

Landrieu said he considered hiring from the outside, but Harrison remained at the top of the list.

"I always have a national profile. I always look across the country for the best. I always have a heart for people from New Orleans, but if I found somebody from across the country that I thought was better suited for this job, I would not have hesitated to hire him, so in that sense, I did. I also wanted to give the guys inside the department a chance to prove themselves and during that process that I went through, Commander Harrison rose up clearly," Landrieu said.

Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, who was also on hand at the event Tuesday, said Harrison has shown strong qualities throughout his career.

"I go back with this man a very, very long way. Actually when I was a judge in criminal court, I remember him as a street cop, so to speak, making a lot of tough cases. He was a hard-working officer way back then," Cannizzaro said. "I am happy to see that he has been promoted to superintendent."

Harrison said he's focused on five top priorities: recruitment, crime and murder reduction, community policing, consent decree compliance and career development for his officers.

"We are rebuilding the NOPD from the top-down to make sure we deliver the police services that you deserve and that you demand," he said. "We are all in this together, and I look forward to strengthening our partnership with the community, and now it's time to get to work."

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