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Anne Kirkpatrick sworn in as first female New Orleans PD chief to be named to permanent post

“This is about me serving you, so thank you,” Kirkpatrick said after taking the oath


Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP

By Missy Wilkinson
The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate

NEW ORLEANS — Anne Kirkpatrick officially took the reins as New Orleans police superintendent Wednesday afternoon in a formal swearing-in at Gallier Hall. Bookended by prayer and gospel music, the ceremony was as reverent as her confirmation process was contentious.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the city’s first female mayor, swore in Kirkpatrick, 64, as its first female police chief to be named to the permanent post.

Those attending included former interim NOPD superintendent Michelle Woodfork, who served as chief for nine months before Kirkpatrick took over in September as interim chief, pending last month’s confirmation by the City Council. Also there was Shaun Ferguson, whose retirement as police chief last December amid similar pageantry sparked a prolonged national search.

An opaque search process drew barbs from the council, as did Cantrell’s decision to nominate Kirkpatrick for confirmation by the council under new rules approved last year by voters. Some council members openly lamented the mayor’s choice of Kirkpatrick over Woodfork, who was widely viewed as the frontrunner.

Kirkpatrick ultimately won the top job on a 6-1 council vote. She described her swearing-in Wednesday as “honoring” as she passed out plaudits in a brief speech that was light on crime-fighting specifics.

She acknowledged Cantrell, the NOPD, members of the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Association’s Leadership Training Program where she is an instructor, the City Council, her family and Jesus.

“This is about me serving you, so thank you,” Kirkpatrick said after taking the oath.

The veteran police chief and self-proclaimed changemaker, who last served as a police chief in Oakland, Calif., drilled down into her plans for the department last month during her confirmation hearing. Before the council, Kirkpatrick outlined strategies to bolster the NOPD’s shrunken ranks, usher it out of a decade of federal court oversight, and build on welcome declines this year in violent crime after a historically bloody 2022.

“Thank you for taking on the challenge,” council member Eugene Green said Wednesday.


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