Not since Richard Pennington has New Orleans hired a superintendent who had no previous connection to the department.
If Rafael Goyeneche, the president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, is correct, the next superintendent will also have ties to the department.
“I don’t know how attractive this job is to an outsider,” Goyeneche said.
He supported his statement by citing the department’s lagging number of officers, the lowest in 36 years he says, as well as the implementation of a consent decree.
At the same announcement of Ronal Serpas’ exit, the city introduced Michael Harrison as the interim superintendent. Harrison is a 23-year veteran of the department and worked previously as the commander of the department’s Seventh District in Eastern New Orleans.
At least one outspoken critic of the department hopes it looks to bring in a new face for the job. Malcolm Suber belongs to the group Community United For Change, the same group that protested Serpas’ hiring on the day he took his oath of office.
“We need fresh eyes. We need somebody who is going to come in and clean house,” Suber said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu promises a thorough search for Serpas’ permanent replacement. But following the mayor’s statement Monday, it’s clear Harrison is already a top candidate.
“He will absolutely be given consideration. I would say that possession is 9/10ths of the law,” Landrieu said.