Mike Perlstein / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- The sudden departure of outgoing police chief Ronal Serpas for a teaching post at Loyola University was greeted with both cheers and disappointment.

But experts warn that the challenges he leaves behind won't go away with the appointment of interim chief Michael Harrison.

'The problems that were there this morning are there this afternoon,' said Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. 'They're going to be there tomorrow.'

Regardless of how long the interim title stays in front of Harrison's name, one thing is certain, the daunting problems of the NOPD will not be solved overnight.

Goyeneche said some issues Serpas inherited are even more serious today, such as dwindling troops and a strict federal consent decree.

'The manpower issue is not of the superintendent's making. That was on the political leadership,' he said. 'The consent decree and all the consequences, from details to everything else, that's the consent decree and that was put into place before he was superintendent.'

And advice for the new chief?

'He needs to ignore the 'interim' tag. He's the chief,' Goyeneche said. 'Because all of the decisions that are made from 11 p.m. today forward are his.'

After 24 combined years with the NOPD, Serpas leaves with a pension of nearly $144,000 a year. His Loyola salary has not been disclosed.

Meanwhile, Harrison will start at a salary of $150,000 a year, an increase from his $86,000 a year commander's pay.

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