Interim New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison unveiled his new leadership team Friday, promoting a longtime captain and district commander to one of two deputy superintendent posts and naming two lieutenants to fill vacant district commander positions.
Longtime 6th District Commander Robert Bardy was named deputy superintendent of the Field Operations Bureau, often considered the No. 2 post in the department. Bardy has served as commander of the 6th District since 2006.
Deputy Superintendent Daryl Albert, who has held the job Bardy will fill, will shift to the post of deputy superintendent of the Investigation and Support Bureau. That position was vacated in June when 32-year NOPD veteran Kirk Bouyelas departed to become chief investigator at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Lt. Ronnie Stevens, who headed the detective investigative unit for the 1st District, was named commander of the 6th District, the post Bardy vacated. The district comprises the Irish Channel, the Garden District, Central City and part of Uptown.
Lt. Lawrence Dupree, who oversaw the detective investigative unit in the 7th District, was named commander of the 7th District, which covers New Orleans East. That was the post Harrison held until he was named interim superintendent Monday in the wake of Ronal Serpas’ abrupt retirement to take a teaching position at Loyola University.
The shake-up is fairly typical of what happens when a new superintendent assumes the job, according to Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
“It’s all about trust and relationships,” Goyeneche said. “Mike Harrison has been on the job for 20-some years. He knows all these people personally and professionally. He doesn’t have to take anyone’s word about someone’s background.”
Bardy is a 40-year NOPD veteran. Prior to serving as the 6th District commander, he was commander of the 7th District, a platoon sergeant in the narcotics section and a platoon commander of a Drug Enforcement Agency task force.
He has been characterized as a hands-on commander who was active in the community and had a strong dialogue with those living in his district.
A story Friday in the Uptown Messenger said that under Bardy’s leadership, the 6th District significantly increased its arrest rate on violent crimes. The rate now is above 50 percent, the story said. “About four years ago, we had single digits” on those clearances, Bardy said.
Bardy’s leadership also was touted during a dispute a few years ago between police and Mardi Gras Indians, who claimed officers often harassed them while they were parading in the street on the evenings of Mardi Gras and St. Joseph’s Day.
Bertrand Butler, who sits on the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council, said Bardy vastly improved the relationship between the Indians and the Police Department. “Before they treated us bad, but Cmdr. Bardy came in and transformed the whole network,” he said. “He would march with us from beginning to end, and he always welcomed you into his office.”
Bardy came under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union in 2012 for an email he wrote that suggested a specific platoon should hit a goal of 40 arrests per week. ACLU officials suggested the email was evidence of an arrest “quota,” which is against state law.
An NOPD spokesman defended Bardy, claiming the email was meant to be motivational and exemplified good leadership.
Bardy was commander of the 7th District during Hurricane Katrina, when officers allegedly killed two people on the Danziger Bridge then conspired to cover up the shooting. Five officers were convicted in the case, but the verdict was later thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct.
Bardy was never implicated in the conspiracy.
Daryl Albert’s brother, Marcel Albert, was arrested on a count of domestic abuse battery in April for allegedly strangling his wife in a domestic dispute. Marcel Albert is also a police officer.
The arrest came eight months after the incident, and Marcel Albert’s wife said she didn’t feel the NOPD could fairly investigate the case because of her brother-in-law’s high-ranking status.
Daryl Albert was not involved in the dispute, and there has not been any evidence that he influenced the investigation.
Staff writer Gordon Russell contributed to this report.