Chief Michael Harrison will step down from his position as NOPD Superintendent on Jan. 19, marking the end of a 28-year career with the police force.
For the last four and half years, Harrison has sat at the helm of the NOPD as the city's top cop. Before that distinction, however, he started as a street cop 28 years ago.
In 1991, Harrison was fresh out of the U.S. Air National Guard when he entered the police force. Just a few years later, he worked undercover as a narcotics detective.
"It was my job to negotiate those transactions and buy illegal drugs from people on the street," Harrison told WWL-TV's Bill Capo in a 2014 interview, months after he stepped into the top position.
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"How did you convince criminals that you were a criminal too?" Capo asked.
"I had to smell really bad. We had an old beat up car.," Harrison replied.
Harrison successfully nabbed multiple drug dealers during his time in narcotics, which grabbed the attention of his superiors. In 1998, he was promoted to sergeant and transferred to the NOPD's Eighth District.
Within a year as sergeant, however, Harrison's mission changed from rooting out French Quarter criminals to crooked police within his own ranks when he joined the NOPD Public Integrity Bureau (PIB).
Recognized for his own moral character, the public later learned that Harrison is also an ordained minister.
"How does a man of the cloth carry a gun," Capo asked Harrison.
"We go about achieving the same goal, but in different ways. They are both about making people better," Harrison said.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Harrison served both his community and his colleagues, hosting more than 20 officers in his Algiers home.
Not long after the storm, Harrison traded in his sergeant's stripes for lieutenant bars. He was sent to New Orleans East, where he became commander of the Seventh District until 2014.
At that point, Harrison became a household name when former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu picked him to succeed Ronal Serpas as NOPD Superintendent. At the time, morale and manpower were so low that raising both was Harrison's top priority.
"I'm the chief that they need, I'm the chief they want but I'm also the chief the cities need right now," Harrison told Capo in December of 2014.
Harrison inherited a federal consent decree and has been applauded for implementing body cameras, de-escalation training, reducing the murder rate and improving community relations during his time at the helm of the organization.
While the NOPD is not without multiple issues still, such as lowering response times, that issue has also seen improvement as Harrison's tenure comes to a close.
Kept on by Mayor LaToya Cantrell after her election, Harrison has now announced that he will be retiring from the NOPD and moving to Baltimore to run the Baltimore Police Department.
Harrison's last day is Jan. 19.