Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Thursday said she’s confident enough in the New Orleans Department’s top leadership that she saw no need to search for departing Superintendent Michael Harrison’s successor anywhere else.
“There’s no need for me to do a search. I don’t need a committee. I don’t need an interim,” she told reporters.
A day earlier, City Hall said Cantrell will select her next superintendent from within the NOPD’s ranks. That announcement is expected Monday.
Whoever is named the city’s next top cop will see a swift rise. It was only during the weekend that Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh called Harrison to offer him the job, which he accepted after mulling it over for a day.
By Monday morning, Pugh’s office announced Harrison would be Baltimore’s next police commissioner and that he would retire from the NOPD on Jan. 19.
Harrison has said he was previously approached about the job in Baltimore but never applied and planned to stay in New Orleans. That changed when Fort Worth’s police chief, Pugh’s first choice for police commissioner, withdrew his name at the last minute after a medical emergency involving his son.
Cantrell has not tipped her hat as to whom she’s considering for Harrison’s replacement.
Insiders, though, have suggested it could be one of three people:
- Deputy Chief Paul Noel, Harrison's No. 2
- Deputy Chief John Thomas, who last year was shot in the line of duty
- Commander Shaun Ferguson, who runs the NOPD academy
Harrison said he's prepared to make a recommendation on his replacement should Cantrell ask for one, but he would not reveal who his pick would be.
"If there's any information that I think is pertinent that she absolutely has to know, I will certainly make that recommendation," Harrison said.
Cantrell said her criteria for the next chief is simple: “The integrity and the character and the skill sets (to lead the NOPD).”
Paul Murphy contributed to this report.
Danny Monteverde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.