Shaun Ferguson took the reins of the New Orleans Police Department on Friday.
Following a performance by the Landry-Walker High School marching band and a final, ceremonial review of officers in Lafayette Square by outgoing Superintendent Michael Harrison, Ferguson pledged to chart a steady course as he was sworn in by Mayor LaToya Cantrell as the new superintendent of the NOPD.
"We're going to keep doing what we've been doing. We're going to keep our commitment and our dedication to our citizens as we press forward to make this the best police department in the United States," Ferguson said in remarks in front of the entrance to Gallier Hall.
Ferguson, 46, rose through the ranks of the NOPD and most recently headed up the department’s training and education division after stints as commander of the 2nd District in Uptown and the 4th District in Algiers.
“To our citizens, we are in this together,” Ferguson said. “We could not be here without you, and I thank you for everything you have done thus far to support us, and we will continue this journey together to make this the best city in the United States of America.”
Cantrell picked Ferguson to head up the NOPD on Monday, only days after Harrison was picked to lead the Baltimore Police Department. Harrison has been the city’s top cop since 2014, when former Mayor Mitch Landrieu chose him to replace Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
The speed with which Cantrell made her decision was a break from the often lengthy searches and public processes that accompanied the selection of previous chiefs.
Ferguson takes over the department as Cantrell is seeking to close the books on a federal consent decree that has been in place since 2012.
Ferguson already has experience dealing with the consent decree, which included provisions requiring improvements to officer training, in his position overseeing the training academy. That could potentially ease the transition from Harrison, who had been given high marks by the consent decree monitors for his handling of the mandated reforms.