NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The mayor of New Orleans has chosen an interim police superintendent and said a national search will help decide who will get the permanent position.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Tuesday nominated New Orleans Police Captain Michelle Woodfork to the interim position.
“She has grown up understanding the importance of law and order. My kind of woman,” Cantrell said. “Leadership matters, and I look forward to the leadership that Captain Michelle Woodfork will bring forward.”
Cantrell said a consultant will also work with the city to conduct a nationwide search.
The mayor has said little publicly about how she would replace Police Superintendent Sean Ferguson, who earlier this month said he would retire effective Thursday.
The next leader of the New Orleans Police Department faces many challenges. The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported that with a high murder rate and dwindling ranks, the department was dealing with widespread morale problems.
A survey by the Fraternal Order of Police and city council found that 86% of officers were dissatisfied with the department.
Several city council members expressed support for the mayor’s decision to name Woodfork as interim chief.
“The New Orleans Police Department and the people of this city deserve the most qualified leader to permanently replace Chief Sean Ferguson,” City Council President Helena Moreno said in a statement. “Appointing an interim chief and launching a national search will provide an opportunity to find that person. I applaud the mayor listening to the city council along with the many community and business groups that have called for this process.
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