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National search for new NOPD Chief will cost New Orleans $90k, according to contract

The last two police chiefs were in-house selections, bypassing any type of external search.

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans will pay $90,000 to find a new police chief, according to its contract with the firm selected to carry out the national search, the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The contract, signed March 2, includes a timetable for the IACP to submit a list of finalists by about July 1, the last step in a 17-week process that begins with drawing up a “candidate profile.”

To come up with the profile, which will guide language of the job posting, the contract first calls for stakeholder interviews and input from the community and NOPD officers through surveys and focus groups.

Once a job description is finalized, the contract calls for it to be posted within 8-10 weeks, or mid-May, with finalists to be scheduled for city interviews about six weeks later.

With the contract signed a week ago, the timetable indicates that some activities are already underway, including a kickoff meeting between the IACP and City Hall, data collection and “stakeholder identification and interview scheduling.”

One key consideration to be hammered out will be the advertised salary for a new superintendent, which is expected to be hiked from the current pay of about $180,000 in order to attract high-quality out-of-town candidates.

IACP was paid $36,000 when it signed the contract, with the agreement calling for three subsequent payments of $18,000 once the firm reaches specific benchmarks of the process, according to the 22-page document.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced her intentions to conduct a national search following the retirement of former Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and Cantrell’s selection of Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork.

Woodfork, who was sworn in Dec. 22, says she is primarily focused on the job at hand, but is expected to be a leading candidate for the permanent post.

The last two police chiefs were in-house selections, bypassing any type of external search. But following the extreme challenges that have hit the NOPD since Cantrell hand-picked Shaun Ferguson as chief in January 2019, everyone from the City Council to the city’s Inspector General called for a national search. 

Ferguson was at the helm amid a surge in violent crime and steady attrition among the troops, which has brought the NOPD from just under 1,200 officers to just over 900, a modern-era low.

The signing of the contract with IACP, a non-profit professional organization based in Alexandria, Va., was delayed for several weeks while both sides ironed out terms.

The final agreement calls for IACP to help as needed in city negotiations with a prospective chief as well as “post-hire support to provide technical assistance to meet the needs of the new Chief of Police.”   

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