31-year police veteran chosen as interim chief in New Orleans
Michelle Woodfork is the first woman to lead the NOPD and will be following in the footsteps of her father and uncle
By Ashley Silver
NEW ORLEANS — Michelle Woodfork is set to take the reins of the New Orleans Police Department as interim police chief, guided by a rich family legacy in law enforcement.
According to NOLA.com, the 31-year police veteran was promoted to captain last year and currently serves in the NOPD’s Management Services Bureau. Woodfork was introduced as the new interim police chief during a news conference earlier this week. Woodfork is the first woman to lead the NOPD and will be following in the footsteps of her father, who served in the same department from 1968 to 1974. Her uncle, Warren Woodfork, was the NOPD’s first Black superintendent.
“I am their legacy,” Woodfork said at Tuesday’s announcement. “As I watched them, the seed to serve and protect was planted.”
Woodfork’s dream of rising in the ranks of law enforcement was nearly thwarted in 2017 as a drunk driver plowed into her and dozens of others while she was working parade duty. She suffered a broken leg from the incident, but returned to the force after healing from her injuries.
Woodfork worked in the NOPD’s Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit for a dozen years, first as a detective and then a sergeant, before being tapped in 2012 to head the department’s alternative police response unit.
District D Council member Eugene Green told NOLA.com that he’d heard positive feedback from other officers about Woodfork, stating that she had “paid her dues": “They can identify with someone who has served at different levels. She has served across districts, so she is familiar with the city. I look forward to working with her to address the concerns that we have and also the opportunities within the police department,” Green said.