A top New Orleans police official is retiring from the force for a job as chief investigator with Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office, marking the second recent high-level departure from the depleted NOPD.
Deputy Superintendent Kirk Bouyelas, a 32-year NOPD veteran who oversees the department’s detectives, appeared at a news conference Monday in his NOPD uniform but will start in Cannizzaro’s office next Monday, he said.
A police spokesman said Superintendent Ronal Serpas was not ready to name a replacement for Bouyelas atop the Investigative and Support Bureau.
In Cannizzaro’s office, Bouyelas, 53, will lead a staff of 30 investigators.
“I got myself a first-round draft pick. I probably got the first pick in the draft,” Cannizzaro said in announcing the move along with the promotion of veteran investigator Tenisha Stevens to deputy chief investigator, Bouyelas’ new second-in-command.
Cannizzaro touted the relationship his office has forged with the NOPD and federal authorities, saying Bouyelas would help strengthen those ties. Cannizzaro described landing Bouyelas as a coup.
“We’re getting Chief Serpas’ right-hand man. From our perspective, this is a win-win situation,” he said. “This District Attorney’s Office is not your mama’s DA’s Office, so to speak.”
Bouyelas takes the place of Howard Robertson, the former chief investigator, who died this year. The interim chief, Brian Lapeyrolerie, is leaving for another agency.
Bouyelas’ departure from the NOPD follows that of former Cmdr. Edwin Hosli, a close friend of Serpas who left late last month for Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office.
In a statement, Serpas called Bouyelas “a true leader” in the NOPD.
“We congratulate Kirk on his new opportunity and look forward to the continued partnership between the NOPD and the District Attorney’s Office,” Serpas said.
Serpas said recently that the department had lost 60 officers since the beginning of the year — a higher attrition rate than over the past three years. Some of the losses, he said, were the result of predictable retirements by officers such as Bouyelas, who came to the force three decades ago during a hiring binge.
Bouyelas said he made the move voluntarily, noting that his NOPD pension is “maxed out,” a factor in his relocation down the street.
“All I’m really going to be doing is switching offices, taking off the uniform and putting on a suit and tie,” he said.
Along with his pension, Bouyelas will earn $90,000 working for Cannizzaro. He made $117,600 last year at the NOPD, city figures show.