The man who has served 4 years as Superintendent of the NOPD has announced he is retiring after more than 34 years of public service.
"I'm proud to have served in the NOPD...and as Superintendent," Ronal Serpas told reporters at a city hall news conference on Monday morning.
Serpas indicated he has a new "professional opportunity" and will detail his future plans later this week. He intends to remain a resident of the city.
"We have made great headway in reducing the murder rate and that was the clarion call" Serpas said, when he became Superintendent. "We began to change the culture in the New Orleans Police Department," he added.
"It is with regret that we see you retire today," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
"This city and this police department is in much better shape than it was four years ago," Landrieu said before he embraced the outgoing chief.
Landrieu says Serpas will be replaced on an interim basis by 7th District Commander, Lt. Michael Harrison, a veteran of 23 years on the force.
"He is a man of great integrity, hard work, focus," Landrieu said.
The mayor says he intends to seek input from the public before naming a permanent replacement for Serpas. He has not specified a time frame for an appointment.
Harrison said he was "deeply humbled" by the interim appointment. "I pledge to lead the NOPD with integrity, accountability and the highest standards of service," he said.
The New Orleans Advocate reported Monday that as many as five New Orleans City Council members were ready to fire Serpas.
City Council President Stacy Head released a statement Monday morning saying she was grateful for Serpas' service and leadership.
"Chief Serpas has led NOPD for four years and brought many positive changes, including the implementation of a federal consent decree that continues to drive out corruption and waste from the department," Head said.
She also welcomed Harrison as interim superintendent and pledged her support. "Lt. Harrison is up to the challenge before him and I am confident he will continue to grow our ranks and greatly improve public safety in New Orleans."
District D City Councilman Jared Brossett wished Serpas the best in his future endeavors. "Over his tenure, Chief Serpas furthered the Department's commitment to community policing, implemented the federal consent decree, and saw a reduction in the City's post-Katrina homicide rate. As a Louisiana Legislator, I worked with Chief Serpas on legislation to issue more summons in lieu of arrests for minor offenses."
"Looking forward for the NOPD, I offer my full support to Interim Superintendent Michael Harrison, formerly the 7th District Commander. As we all know, the Department has many challenges before it. At this time, I ask that all of my constituents in District D and all New Orleanians join me in supporting and offering our full backing to Interim Chief Harrison as he takes on the tremendous tasks before him," Brossett added.