Five high-ranking supervisors ousted from Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 3:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2022 at 8:52 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Five high-ranking members of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office were ousted Wednesday (Sept. 7), in what Sheriff Susan Hutson called a “strategic realignment of certain positions.”

Those removed had more than 100 combined years of experience with the sheriff’s office, sources told Fox 8. The ousted supervisors were identified as Maj. Robert Donnelly and Captains Danny Henry, Mark Jones, Jerry Martin and Cathy Taylor.

A statement from the sheriff’s office said Donnelly was “stepping down” after 36 years of service at OPSO. Donnelly has directed the OPSO’s Training Division for the past two years, and a search for a replacement is underway, the statement said.

The OPSO said the four captains were fired “for cause,” but agency spokesman Phil Stelly said he could not provide details of what prompted their terminations.

Henry was a supervisor at the Orleans Justice Center jail’s Intake and Processing Center. Jones and Martin were unit managers inside the jail. Taylor also was a unit manager, assigned to the jail’s Temporary Mental Health Unit, the OPSO said.

One of those ousted said the dismissals were completely unexpected, and predicted that more inmate deaths would result from the loss of experienced corrections supervisors. Two inmates have died in custody and at least five others have been wounded in stabbings since Hutson assumed control of the New Orleans jail on May 2.

The source said all of the supervisors departing OPSO had at least 20 years of experience under their belts a piece.

“The Sheriff, as an elected official, has the power to hire and fire members of her staff, they are basically political appointees,” said political analyst Robert Collins.

“The question is whether or not it is wise from a management standpoint to terminate professional, experienced law enforcement administrators.”

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Collins said Donnelly’s position is highly-specialized and could be difficult to fill.

“I think there’s going to be a concern that if the Sheriff is terminating career, experienced, professional law enforcement officers with decades of experience, is she going to be able to replace them with people of similar experience knowing how hard it is to fill law enforcement positions right now?” Collins asked.

One of those dismissed also told Fox 8 that a member of the ousted group had filed a complaint to Hutson last month, alleging that Assistant Sheriff Kristen Morales -- Hutson’s deputy chief for investigations and internal affairs -- had been verbally abusive to deputies.

Hutson said in the statement, “We are making a strategic realignment of certain positions to ensure that we have well-trained correctional officers who also have an opportunity to advance their careers here at the Sheriff’s Office.”

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