Tonight one of the NOPD’s top cops is leaving to work for the DA’s office. The DA feels the move is a win for all involved. WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano reports others say it’s a big blow for police.
“I am honored to introduce to you Chief Kirk Bouyelas as the new chief investigator for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office,” says District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.
Still wearing his NOPD uniform Deputy Superintendent Kirk Bouyelas, a man with 30-plus years in the department, is trading in his badge for a spot with the DA’s office.
“My retirement is effective Friday,” says Kirk Bouyelas.
The announcement comes at a time when the NOPD is losing officers on a weekly basis despite ongoing recruitment efforts. Fraternal Order of Police attorney Raymond Burkart says the move is great for Bouyelas, but it’s a blow to the NOPD.
“We can’t forget what this looks like a symptom of. Someone so high up says I’ve had enough, and he leaves,” says Burkart.
Burkhart says morale among officers is now at an all-time low, yet Bouyelas maintains his decision to leave had nothing to do with morale.
“I’m not leaving because I’m bitter. I’m not leaving because I have to. I’m leaving because I have an opportunity to come here and work with the District Attorney’s office, and I believe do some really important and great work here,” says Bouyelas.
“Quite frankly I got myself a first round draft pick,” exclaims Cannizzaro.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro calls Bouyelas the NOPD Chief’s right hand man. He says as the Chief Investigator at the DA’s office Bouyelas will oversee 30 investigators and he’ll help foster relationships between the DA’s office, federal partners, and the NOPD.
It’s a move that may lead to a stronger District Attorney’s office, but one Burkart says is worrisome for the future of the New Orleans Police Department.
“It’s a sad day in the department when we start seeing out leaders leave. It says everything you need to know without words,” says Bouyelas.
In his current assignment with the NOPD Deputy Superintendent Kirk Bouyelas directs the multi-agency gang unit.
Statement attributed to Chief Serpas: “Throughout his 32 years of service to the people of New Orleans, Kirk Bouyelas has been a true leader within the New Orleans Police Department. We congratulate Kirk on his new opportunity and look forward to the continued partnership between the NOPD and the District Attorney’s Office. The collaboration within the New Orleans criminal justice system is stronger than ever and we’re continuing to focus on making New Orleans a safer place to live.”
In addition, District Attorney Cannizzaro named Tenisha Stevens, who has worked at the DA’s office as an investigator since 2003, to be the Deputy Chief Investigator. Regarding the promotion of Ms. Stevens, Cannizzaro said, “Tenisha Stevens, who began her career as a teacher in the New Orleans public school system, has nearly two decades of law enforcement experience. She holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Southern University New Orleans. She came to the District Attorney’s office in 2003 as an investigator. In that capacity, she has served this office with distinction through good times and bad, and I look forward to having Ms. Stevens as a member of my executive staff.”