Cantrell hires former NYPD deputy chief to consult on revamp of NOPD operations

“I’m going to presume that he’s going to have significant influence over our strategies, and that’s what we’re excited about,” said Mike Glasser, President of the Police Association of New Orleans.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 9:38 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Beset by dwindling manpower and lengthening response times, the New Orleans Police Department on Wednesday (Aug. 31) brought in the former head of the New York City police department’s massive patrol division to help develop a strategy to revamp operations within the NOPD.

Fausto Pichardo, who until his abrupt resignation in October 2020 was Chief of Patrol and the highest-ranking Latino in the NYPD, will work for up to six months in New Orleans to implement recommended changes and train a permanent replacement as Chief of Operations for the NOPD.

“Whatever he does is going to have to be designed to fix the problems that we have, and I think I’ve gone on record many times saying what those problems are, specifically: Public Integrity Bureau, the disciplinary process, the promotional process, all those things that are driving officers away,” said Mike Glasser, President of the Police Association of New Orleans.

The appointment represents an acknowledgement by Mayor LaToya Cantrell and police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson that changes are needed in the NOPD’s command structure and district operations in order to meet the challenges of rising crime, declining numbers of officers and a public demanding better from its police department.

“We will look at restructuring and redeploying our department to best serve the purposes of officer safety, crime-fighting and better service to the residents and visitors of our city,” Ferguson said in an email sent department-wide. “Chief Pichardo will begin working with us today to ascertain exactly where our full-duty cops are and how they might soon be reorganized to achieve the purposes I have set.”

Ferguson assured officers in his email that “my team will remain my team,” but also wrote, “There may be different roles and responsibilities for some, but the mission and vision are the same.”

Ferguson explained that two former NYPD chiefs had been brought to New Orleans for “a rapid 10-day assessment” of the NOPD’s operations. The goals, Ferguson said, were to find ways to improve officer safety, crime-reduction capabilities and response times for serious crimes, “especially crimes in progress.”

A consultant who was asked to evaluate NOPD in the mid-1990s when Richard Pennington was chief and at the height of the 90s crime wave, John Linder, was involved in bringing on Pichardo, said Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

“He’s familiar with the City of New Orleans, he has a relationship with the mayor, they’ve been here for several weeks meeting with the police department, assessing the lay of the land, and putting together a plan,” said Goyeneche.

“What we’re seeing right now is no different than what it was back in the mid-1990s when Richard Pennington was here and a consultant was brought in. If you’re reassessing the entire police department and the way we police this city, which is what this group has been commissioned to do with the blessings of the police chief, then this person has to be able to move in every component of the department and have conversations and talk to people.”

Ferguson said he asked Pichardo “to help us for as long as six months to implement their recommendations, many of which we had already identified. He will be doing this as a consulting Chief of Operations and will train his permanent replacement during this period.”

The Dominican-born Pichardo appeared to be a popular figure within the New York Police Department, where he rose from the rank of patrolman in 1999 to a top leadership position supervising nearly 22,000 uniformed officers.

Pichardo reportedly clashed with former New York mayor Bill de Blasio over perceived micro-managing, when he abruptly turned in retirement papers on Oct. 13, 2020.

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