NEW ORLEANS -- Former police superintendent Warren Riley will not join Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration, City Hall announced Wednesday.
Riley was being considered for the city's Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety position, however, his hiring was brought to a halt over what Cantrell described as an “uptick in the community."
Riley drew criticism in some circles for what they described as his failures while at the helm of the NOPD, which has been under a federal consent decree since 2010.
Cantrell sent out this statement Wednesday afternoon:
“While I believe that Warren Riley is uniquely qualified for a role as our City’s Director of Homeland Security & Public Safety --- with a resume that includes serving as the Federal Coordinating Officer overseeing seven federally declared disasters in just over four years--- I have listened to the people of New Orleans on both sides, and I have decided not to move forward with his employment.
“Mr. Riley’s qualifications are undeniable. As one of a select team of Federal Coordinating Officers who serve as the president’s representative on federally declared disasters, he has been a leader in crisis response and emergency preparedness on the national level.
“But here in New Orleans: the pain is too great. The untreated and lingering trauma so many of our residents still struggle with, the post-traumatic stress that still informs how we all look back to that flashpoint, makes it untenable to move forward with Mr. Riley as part of our new administration.
“Addressing the trauma still lingering from Hurricane Katrina will be a priority for my administration. We will be sensitive to the struggles of our residents and neighbors that endured, and that stayed through the storm. In many instances, in those days, government was part of what they had to struggle against. In closing the door on this hire, I want to send a clear message that under my administration—the City government is not going to be part of the problem. We are going to move forward, together.”