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'What a ride' - NOPD Supt. Ferguson says he wasn't forced out

NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said he told Mayor Cantrell he was considering retiring in a conversation before Thanksgiving and she asked him to think it over.

NEW ORLEANS — NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said goodbye to the job of chief Wednesday looking back on the good times and bad and emphasizing that he was not forced out.

"This was my decision," he said. "I'm walking out on my own accord."

Ferguson said the four years he was in charge were tough and challenging. He said he was stepping down to focus on his family. He said he joined the force 24 years ago to do something for his family's future and now he's stepping away for the same reason.

"I'm not leaving this city to go take another job," he said. "I'm staying in New Orleans."

Ferguson said he was touched and moved to tears by notes and emails he's received from men and women of the force since his decision became public. He thanked Mayor LaToya Cantrell for trusting him to lead the force and for "standing by him even when some called for his resignation."

He touched on some of the issues he's dealt with, including calls for him to step down, the pandemic and police shortages.

He said that while it wasn't his job to recommend a successor, he feels that the best person to lead the department is currently in the department.

“The City of New Orleans will soon bid farewell to a great leader, a great partner, and a great friend,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell wrote in a statement. “After 24 years of dedicated public service to the City of New Orleans, Superintendent Shaun Ferguson will retire at the end of this year. He gave this city his very best – the safety and well-being of each and every resident and visitor was always his top priority.”

Ferguson was named NOPD Chief by Cantrell in January 2019. He replaced outgoing Chief Michael Harrison, who had accepted a police chief job in Baltimore.

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