Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- A meeting aimed at getting public input on the city budget also became an opportunity to introduce NOPD's new interim chief.

Several neighbors say they're glad to see new leadership and hope the chief can address their concerns.

'What I want to do is start off the night by introducing you to your new police chief,' said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, 'Chief Michael Harrison.'

Harrison attended his first public meeting in his new role Monday night and briefly shared his vision for the department.

'I am fully committed to this task, and we as a department are fully committed to making every neighborhood in New Orleans a safe neighborhood,' he said.

Landrieu joked that Harrison doesn't have an easy task ahead

'He promised me he was going to fix all y'all's crime problems by Christmas today,' he said, laughing.

After 23 years on the force, Harrison is stepping into a leadership role that requires him to address deep-rooted problems.

Police manpower is at a modern-era low, and there have been several recent mass shootings.

Neighbors here say they want to see better officer deployment or more patrols.

'We need to have community policing where police officers are touching our neighbors in our community,' said Derrick Floyd, the St. Roch Neighborhood Association president.

'When you've got police on the street, they prevent the crime before it happens,' said Bill Murphy, the St. Roch Neighborhood Association president. 'They make people think that they don't want to do the crime.'

Murphy knows that first-hand. He was the victim of a beating in St. Roch.

Others add that widespread unemployment amongst black men and the lack of recreational activities must also be addressed.

'The mass shootings around that city give us a plan to tackle that issue, talk to us about plans to deal with opportunities for young people, recreational and educational,' said Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey.

Landrieu said Harrison is now the leader of a police department in the process of being reformed from top to bottom, but adds the NOPD cannot solve the city's crime problems alone.

'It's hard,' Landrieu said. 'These ladies and gentlemen are doing a lot of work under difficult circumstances, and we still have a long way to go. My sense is if we support them we will get there.'

Other major issues mentioned here were blight and potholes.

There are similar meetings scheduled this week and next for each of the other four council districts.

The next will be Wednesday night in Lakeview.

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