WWL>Topics>>8-18-14 11am, Garland, Ronal Serpas Retirement Press Conference

8-18-14 11am, Garland, Ronal Serpas Retirement Press Conference

Aug 18, 2014|

Ronal Serpas announces his retirement along with Mayor Mitch Landrieu and interim Police Chief Lt. Commander Michael Harrison.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

We -- take you live to new Orleans City Hall where superintendent Ronald surpasses speaking about his resignation. I want applause for a minute and have us all remember officer Rodney Thomas. An officer John passer. Police work is dangerous there's no about doubt about that. Some suffer and some suffer so much more. When -- Andrew took office you know PD had clearly come apart between 2005. And 2010. The train had come off the tracks. When I became chief I knew I had my work cut out for me but with the support of this -- who enjoyed working with every single day. This council the prior counsel and the community at large and the tough and honest cops we've made a difference in rebuilding the police department. Just quick notes to -- those over the last four years we've beefed up the homicide unit. We created a multi agency gang unit. And we stand today now after 2013. And into this year with the lowest recorded numbers potentially historically in the city of new -- We have made great head -- headway with reducing murder and that was our clarion call when we took office. I'm particularly proud of the first 48 when the nation can see it's a television show and so are the first 48. -- the nation's seized the officers and detectives and the staff as we work to solve these terrible cases. We clear a backlog of over 850 rape kits were sitting idly and collecting dust in the property rooms in 2000 intent. Giving women long deserved justice that they needed for the assaults that they have been taken. We've also seen and and none of servers long time observers of the NO PD and district attorney's relationship who have reported recently. That the working partnership between the district attorney in the -- police department has never been better. And that is good for the people of walls. We got serious about putting the right people in jail uses summonses and move arrest and focus and our attention on dangers violent repeat offenders. So about our officers could be in your neighborhood. More. We began to change the culture of the walls police department for the first time ever. Funny first time allegations sustained -- truth commission you will be fired in the walls was the -- That is a cultural change that's important because proud men and women wanna be around that. Most importantly. Been there the prior counsel and this council. We've invested. In the police department where buildings were flooded from Katrina we now have new police district stations. We now have over 200 new vehicles. We've reinstituted. A police promotion process for offices and had laid dormant since December of 2009. And in the last eighteen months with the support of the mayor. And the chief administrative officer -- -- We have promoted more than 500 police officers who received a 5% pay raise in each and every one of those promotions. We provided a sergeants examination and learn -- largest promotions we have -- lieutenants examination on way. That helps us to do the two most important things we confront today recruit and retain our valuable officers. When I became chief our crime lab was dead on arrival. We were incapable of doing anything real time our firearms backlog examination was multi years. Today our firearms examiners were real time. Solving those cases with us helping us make a difference right away. We had to make dramatic changes in the public integrity bureau we embedded to FBI agents in -- public integrity bureau and the ultimate. As we begin today and move into the future is the use of body worn cameras in the walls police department is one of the first big cities in America and in the world. To embrace body worn cameras this is a new technology we're still getting used to it but in the long run. It is a game changer and it will benefit us all for the years to come. Even though we have faced hard times the men and women of this department never let the city down. Time after time major event after major events Super Bowl Mardi -- Final four BCS championship. The men and women of the new balls please before parliament proof. There are none better on the planet. At managing large crowd control and helping the city hosts the most major sporting events that our nation and world conceive. We have laid the ground work our leadership is committed. I'm grateful for my family. Thank you Eisenhower if you serve has literally rent a place it is regret that are passed from now do we see you retire today. As she surpassed said he has spent 34 years in public service and 25 or 26 in the city of New Orleans. It's an amazing. Statistic. To hear him talk about his great great uncle who began. Serving the people of the city New Orleans in 1914. With continuous service to the 2001 until -- -- returned. In 2010. -- you know before for a total of 91 years of continued service from the surface family and on behalf of a grateful city -- tell -- you in the way of killing -- beautiful daughter Allie. And your entire family how much we appreciate that. This city in this police department is in. Much much better shape. Today than it was four years ago. And I thank you for your continued service I've enjoyed working with you. I don't wanna thank you for being with us and -- wish you well -- in your retirement. As you can see standing behind me you have men and women who. -- part of the leadership. In the police department and as the leadership. Of the future when we began four years ago. I task was hard. But I it was clear to stop the bleeding. To turn the ship of state around. And your prepare for the future to lay the foundation. -- so that the next -- -- the next City Council. And the future the people sitting always have a chance. To have a great city. On the -- surpasses leadership the command structure was created. Every one of the men and women standing behind me has been part of growing that leadership. From within and I said many many times it will be the people of New Orleans who rebuild New Orleans. And so it is. With great joy that I announce. That. The -- -- position. Will be held. And led by commander Michael Harrison who today is on the commander of the seventh district. Michael Harrison is 23 years of experience. On the police department he was a member of the National Guard he was part of the PIB unit and he has demonstrated exemplary leadership. In the seventh district as we battled crime in the city -- new -- he's a man of great integrity. He is a man of just the -- hard work focus. -- and is relationship with the community. Is spectacular and so I expect that. I he will be able to lead this department exceedingly well and I know that you allow the full and complete support of all of the men and women standing behind me who have done a great job. Acting as a team because as a has said it's all one team one fight. A one voice one city that's how the city of New Orleans is going to win and so we has successfully stopped the bleeding we have successfully turned. The police department around thinking back to what it was like in 2010 we got him now today. We are fulfilling the third promise which is handing it off. So that future generations will be able to lead this city and I think. That the young man that I am introducing you to now one lead that effort very well so please help me welcome the new interim chief of the -- police department commander Michael Harris. Now -- resignation morning at one thank you mr. Nelson. And Michael Harrison taking a phenomenon you're sharing and humble. To be appointed to lead the -- -- appointment during this transition. The single most important reason why I'm here today. Because god has blessed me and smiled on me today. And for that I'm eternally grateful. But I want to personally thank. Mary Landrieu for this opportunity and for making safety the top priority since the beginning of his administration. Also wanna think she circus is outstanding leadership of the department and leading us through one of the most. Tough times in challenging periods in the history of the in the PV and I talked to him earlier. He's been more than just the Boston chief to me he's been -- coach. A teacher -- mentor. A friend. Com and for some of us who really don't -- for the things is almost been like fall to a lot of us especially me though he may not have known that that's how I viewed it. So I thank you. For everything. Probably policing as one of the most. Noble profession that. -- on the front lines every day. With incredible responsibilities and rewards and that's -- for 23 years. I'm clear that when I put this uniform on every day. -- -- this mission is to serve and protect. I stand ready to leave this to pull me through its next chapter. Public safety is -- the court everything we do. It helps businesses decide whether to invest here it helps with this guy. Whether to move -- stay here whether to educate their children here. Whether to walk and feel comfortable walking the streets of our own community. So it's our opportunity to uphold the image of New Orleans from within our -- neighborhoods. It is our duty to also uphold the law. And maintain peace and be the first responders that all citizens. Call. New Orleans is the best city in America and as we continue to rebuild the police department is poised. The conducts on constitutional police work. With cutting its technology. While remaining relentless. And tough towards the reduction of murder and -- crime. And through the leadership of all -- with the investment of the City Council the new. You always -- the Foreman has better facilities better equipment increased training. And we're going. Our relationship with the community is also critical to our success we must continue. To improve the quality of life. In wall in about working with working for him with the community. So over the next thirty days I want it to the ground. Listening to your feedback. And looking for opportunities to build stronger relationships across the city. Mayor Landrieu has made it clear. Murder reduction remains a top priority. It is important to him. And is important to me. The hoping he will continue to implement them all for life through the multimedia Gagnon. Multi agency giving him excuse me the street gang -- in another community building initiatives. We will continue to leverage our relationships with local state and federal partners to continue to make up for the -- As a native of New Orleans. A -- down in the third fumble on a husband -- -- -- -- I take on this new opportunity. With the auto service in an unwavering commitment to the security protection of every neighborhood in this city. So one -- eight million drug imports confidence in me. And -- like to recognize the great men and women of the police department along without leadership team was with us today. Politely put on this uniform every day with one goal in mind. To serve. And protect. But I can't conclude without acknowledging anything thank you to my wife Sherry of 23 years. Who's been with me from the very beginning. And it's helped me. And supported me from day one my two children born school today and I hear my mother mother well when I he would. Every member of my family who helped me to get to this point. One think my -- also -- -- low post here with me. Who teaches me and culturally and mentored me to have the strength and faith that I'm gonna need for this time. New Orleans is. The best place in the world map which the lead in the PD with integrity accountability. And with the highest standards of service. Thank you very much. -- like Kirk. -- we'll leave department while these requirement. Models are. Thank you mayor for all question more directly questioned. -- as well. As. Retired. No no I've been police chief for thirteen years in three different governments 34 years of service. -- and I both knew that my job was to build the department always being prepared to retire and now's the time and I'm glad to be able to retire. The opportunity that I'll discuss about my personal future in the next few days make it clear that this was a good time for me for the city for the administration to move forward and turn over. To the new leadership that we've been working for the well. It. Now. You know I've been achieved a very long time there's always things you can look back on say enough that it has been a little smarter if I've been thinking a little more clearly. One regret I have is that we had a very officer Rodney Thomas I mean that stays with me forever there's only been two police officers. Die while I was the chief. I think that at the end of the day you're gonna have opportunities for great successes and you have opportunities for great challenges and that's the nature of public leadership. -- There. Think morale is an issue that's important to every leader but it's also important to every employee each employee brings their own Morales who work. And there are things that we've done that have been tremendous successes promotions that had been held up since 2009. Lifting the residency rule I think that a lot of difference in morale. Buying new vehicles makes a difference in morale. Offering promotions makes a difference in morale and today we have 27 people in the academy. We have an academy -- scheduled to start probably September 2 and we'll have a third one before the end of the year. And one of the best things from -- house to see those new people in the cause working with you. You know being in a police chief in a major American city is one of the toughest jobs probably talk is second only to be in the manner. And there's plenty of critics. And I think every leader should recognize the difference between critics criticisms and actually getting the job done so my advice to -- who is now. One of the things I'm incredibly -- for a moment is Mike becomes the eighth deputy chief of senior leader of work with who's become -- And my advice everyone on this in the same be true. Stay focused don't get distracted by the sideshow markers do your job protect the people protector employees. You federal guidelines. You all being basically -- -- -- well there. Player roll it around in recruiting issue that it was a big change what kind of rolled into the federal guidelines play -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- retention. Well let's let's put it in the proper context. I was responsible until a few minutes ago to implement 428. Specific paragraphs of reform of a police department that before 2010 may. Has completely come apart. That is gonna take a lot of work and some of those things are kind of beneath the surface that nobody recognized but a lot of home. Are making this police department be what it should have always been and there's resistance to that and now chief Harrison. Is gonna have the same issue we all things we have to be a constitutional police department. And to uproot and change some of the long term practices will meet resistance it will be disguised as a morale issue but in some ways it's just resistance to change. -- Yeah I'll talk about it a -- first of all as you know we just recently elected it's my responsibility to. And decide who can best lead this department based on what the needs of the citizens are as you know we -- community meetings tonight we'll have five level. I really look forward to hear from the community about what they wanna see it in the -- about what the pharmacy. In the next police she. During the campaign I was yes lots about what you need to -- look like one into the future budget top level team so. I said during the campaign and -- always analyze my top staff and over a long period of time really decide about what the future this video looked like you wanna be leading it. So I have spent a lot of time talking. Over the years and recently to the international association issues for and other organizations about what I think I'm going forward -- will notice stuff for you today. Command Harrison. Has been named interim chief. I think he has all the qualifications. That are necessary but I wanna hear from the public. I'm in the next couple weeks about what it is they want what it is that they need. And I'll decide in relatively near future. About who the permanent. A person's going to be race. It's actually. Been gone on since the early part of some of the discussions on whether or not. My retirement. Decision would match would that opportunity and I think later this week when and they just announced -- that is. It'll show that I'm able to continue the great work that they have done these last 34 years so they kind of came together since. No matter. Yeah been through three. Why is it. While it's it's a great question first of all all the men and women stand behind me. Right now all capable and as you develop organizations like -- you make sure that continuity -- -- -- -- work in the event that something on towards what happened anybody. -- feel comfortable with even after today. Which you can then when something happened to me. We have enough people to make sure that this idiocy during hurricane season that the -- public safety is here with this now. But let me say this as you -- recall in 2010. When we arrived here together the BP oil spill that just occurred. We had suffered the people in this community. Not only affects of 9/11. And the economy hitting the skids right before Hurricane Katrina where Katrina Rita -- and stop the national recession and the BP oil spill. There are no more resilient people in the world and the people of the city of New Orleans and the challenge at that time. When we came into office as it relates -- -- -- was a police department in fact what you drop money on in October because they don't spend that budget. We had a police department that had some individuals. And of course did not reflect the whole department -- but one under federal investigation vote for the -- -- the bridge. Matter and that -- matter. We had a city that was on the verge of bankruptcy. And the job that we all had to do was to stop the bleeding and then turned to see you around. Almost every decision that team has me either through the police department other recreation department. Or the work that was done and economic development has been the same. Which is to create a strong foundation to do the things that whole art. To do the things that a transformative to do the things that are reorganization. So that we could play a strong foundation. So that the future of this city could Iraq and to open up the doors for that. And so as these things go one. We all in our personal lives and professional lives make assessments. About timing and it just seems to me again with the cheese's. In his life and with his dreams are for his future and where the city is. -- this actually falls beautifully into the strategy. I think you begin to develop the city for a new generation of leadership and believe it. At this time and then Harrison represents what that looks like in partnership with the all the men and women standing behind us that have worked for the last four years to prepare themselves. To leave the city into the future. There is what's your timetable for finding a permanent -- what better errors. Given consideration -- -- absolutely be giving consideration I would say that possession is nine tenths of the law. Yellow heard that before. I again we'll listen to the public over the next couple weeks about what they want but I would not have. I'm handsome man Harrison to step up. I think this position if -- do not think that he couldn't believe the department and he will certainly begin serious consideration. To be the permanent chief. All right thank you so much accomplished. You've been listening to live coverage here on WWL. Of the announcement of new Orleans police chief Ronald surpasses. Retirement. The east chief came in and says at the end of PD you'd clearly come apart between 2005 and 2010 when he'd taken over said the train. Had come off the tracks but he said with the support of the mayor. And various city councils in the last four and a half years SOA and tough and honest cops quote we've made a difference. In rebuilding this department. He says that they've made great headway in reducing the murder rate he mentioned how you know PD is clear the backlog of over 850 rape kits. And he says the also was proud how the department as quote gotten serious about putting the right people in jail. Concentrating more on violent offenders and taking them to the lock company issuing summonses. Where ever possible. -- now the police department will be -- in the interim by lieutenant Michael Harrison he's currently commander of the you know PDs seventh district that's New Orleans east. And the says that he will have the full and complete support. Of the mayor's office you've been listening to live coverage of mayor -- Landers news conference with police chief -- surpassed now outgoing from the you know PD and the incoming interim chief lieutenant Michael Harrison here on WWL.