Rob Masson, FOX 8

July 26, 2023

In the face of criticism over the transparency of the process to select the next NOPD superintendent, Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she is letting the process play out.

“This is one of the largest decisions, I’ve had so many, but this is the most recent large decision I’ve had to face as mayor,” said Cantrell.

The lack of transparency in the selection process has drawn criticism from the NOLA coalition, along with city council members. Council Vice President Helena Moreno says she will not vote to confirm any selection without more information.

Last week, six candidates to be New Orleans’ next police chief were interviewed for hours at Gallier Hall and the mayor says she knows nothing about any of them, including their names.

“They haven’t gotten to me. Those are things that were relayed to you. I will continue with the process as it plays out as I’ve done,” said Cantrell.

A source familiar with the process says panelists whittled those six semi-finalists down to three, including Interim Chief Michelle Woodfork.

Mayor Cantrell has promised to wait for the results of further background checks conducted by the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police). However, some believe that viable candidates may have been excluded from the process due to its lack of transparency.

“I know some of the candidates who applied were not contacted by IACP other than to be told they weren’t advancing in the process. They didn’t even speak to two people that I know that applied,” said Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

The mayor pledged to give all candidates presented to her a fair shot, but she admitted that Interim Chief Woodfork has at least one advantage.

“Doing the job matters. The chief is doing the job right now, but that does not close my mind off,” said Cantrell.

Goyeneche remains worried that the lack of transparency may have tainted the entire process.

The IACP is conducting background checks on the final three candidates, and Mayor Cantrell expects to receive the results within two weeks.

Upon receiving the IACP report, she intends to form a new committee to review their findings and assist her in selecting the chief candidate to present to the New Orleans City Council for approval.