Retiring New Orleans chief saw ranks thin, crime rise

Dec 6, 2022, 12:54 AM | Updated: 2:56 pm
FILE - New Orleans Police Supt. Shaun Ferguson addresses the recent uptick in crime during a news c...

FILE - New Orleans Police Supt. Shaun Ferguson addresses the recent uptick in crime during a news conference on Jan. 19, 2022, in New Orleans. Ferguson announced his retirement Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, after four years punctuated by a disastrous building collapse at the edge of the French Quarter, two hurricanes, a pandemic, dwindling police manpower and a violent crime surge that put residents on edge and turned up political pressure on city leaders. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP, File)

(Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police chief Shaun Ferguson announced his retirement Tuesday after four years punctuated by a disastrous building collapse near the French Quarter, two hurricanes, a pandemic, dwindling police manpower and a violent crime surge that put residents and politicians on edge.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Ferguson’s planned yearend departure in a news release in which she thanked him for more than 24 years of service with the department. Ferguson succeeded Michael Harrison, who left New Orleans to head the Baltimore police department in January 2019.

“I will still be your neighbor and I will always be a part of this city that I love so much,” Ferguson said in his statement.

As it did under Harrison, the New Orleans department under Ferguson continued to win praise for progress in implementing reforms outlined in a court-approved agreement with the U.S. Justice Department nearly a decade ago.

But manpower has dwindled to well under 1,000 officers, down from 1,300 a few years ago. Increases in violent crime, including homicides and carjackings, have contributed to a fall in Cantrell’s political popularity — she’s facing a recall effort just over a year after an easy re-election victory.

Ferguson and Cantrell have noted nationwide crime increases and police morale problems that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. They also have blamed problems at the department in part on costly monitoring and other requirements imposed on the department under the consent decree.

The city has moved to end the federal oversight which arose after scandals involving deadly police violence following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the judge in the case has given no indication she will do so.

Meanwhile, the department’s critics, including union officials, say a lack of confidence in department leadership and an allegedly overzealous internal affairs investigation unit have contributed to low morale.

In her announcement Tuesday, Cantrell thanked Ferguson for “selflessness and sacrifice” and she noted the challenges the city faced after he took over, including the collapse of a major hotel under constrcution in 2019 and damage from hurricanes Zeta in 2020 and Ida in 2021.

Cantrell will appoint Ferguson’s successor. If she does so by the end of the year she can avoid having to secure City Council approval that would be required under a new voter-approved requirement that takes effect Jan. 1.

“We must ensure that the next chief commits to upholding constitutional policing and transforming the department,” Council President Helena Moreno said. “That is why any chosen candidate for chief must adhere to the City Council confirmation process widely endorsed by the voters of the City.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
1 day ago
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in red, leaves her office for President's house before ...
Associated Press

India finance minister announces new clean energy funds

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several new clean energy initiatives in the government’s annual federal budget speech on Wednesday, saying “green growth” is a top priority for the country. More than $8 billion dollars were announced for projects like mangrove restoration which help suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Polish leader donates to Ukraine army to end defamation case

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Polish ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has paid 50,000 zlotys ($11,500) to the Ukrainian army to settle a defamation case with a political rival. Kaczynski was ordered by a court in December to pay Radek Sikorski more than 700,000 zlotys ($162,000) to cover the costs of publishing an apology for […]
1 day ago
A man on his tricycle carries transports vegetables at a wholesale market in Guwahati, India, Wedne...
Associated Press

India to raise spending on job creation ahead of election

NEW DELHI (AP) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government presented to Parliament on Wednesday an annual budget of $550 billion that calls for ramping up capital spending by 33% to spur economic growth and create jobs ahead of a general election next year. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said private investment was rising after the pandemic […]
1 day ago
FILE -- Supporters wave Austrian flags during the final election campaign event of the right-wing F...
Associated Press

Austria’s far-right Freedom Party regains national momentum

BERLIN (AP) — Nearly four years ago, Austria’s populist far-right Freedom Party was ousted from the national coalition government over a major corruption scandal, and voters punished it at the ballot box. But the party’s nearly double-digit gains in Sunday’s regional election in the province of Lower Austria confirmed a political trend on the national […]
1 day ago
FILE -- Beer bottles are filled at the Veltins beer brewery in Meschede, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 2...
Associated Press

German beer sales up in 2022 after COVID pushed them down

BERLIN (AP) — German beer sales rose in 2022 after COVID-19 restrictions weighed on brewers in the previous two years, but the long-term trend remains downward and the World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar didn’t get the taps flowing, according to official figures released Wednesday. The Federal Statistical Office said that German-based breweries and distributors […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Retiring New Orleans chief saw ranks thin, crime rise