UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include a response from the New Orleans Police Department.
The New Orleans Police Department’s (NOPD) superintendent is set to retire, with the city having been named the nation’s “murder capital” for the first half of this year as officers reportedly left the force in droves.
Shaun Ferguson will retire at the end of 2022, Democratic New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Tuesday. New Orleans’ Metropolitan Crime Commission named the city the “murder capital of the United States” for the first half of 2022, determining that its homicide rate outpaced any other city nationwide when population was taken into account, according to WDSU. (RELATED: Video Shows Police Smash Window, Rescue Unconscious Man From Moving Car)
A statement from Superintendent Shaun Ferguson regarding the announcement of his retirement. pic.twitter.com/qPp5NTRwzm
— New Orleans Police Department (@NOPDNews) December 7, 2022
The NOPD has lost hundreds of officers overall in the past few years, according to The Associated Press. One officer, Scott Fanning, quit the department in July during his shift, later calling the job “just not worth it” and describing “weird feeling of how unsafe, how lucky I’d been that nothing bad had happened while I’d been doing it,” Fox 8 reported.
Cantrell appointed Ferguson in 2019, she noted in her Tuesday notice about his retirement. He had argued that Fanning “abandoned his post,” “the citizens of New Orleans,” and the department,” according to Fox 8.
“Even when I started three years ago, there would be six or seven officers out with you on your shift,” Fanning told the outlet. “Now, it’s more like two or three. Four was a good day. But some nights, there has been literally one person. … I had worked a day where it was only me who showed up in the whole district.”
Fraternal Order of Police attorney Donovan Livaccari stated in July that “morale has not been that great recently” among New Orleans police, 4WWL reported. An “unbelievable number of people” had moved to other police departments, Livaccari said.
An NOPD representative told the DCNF that neither New Orleans’ murder rate nor the police force decreasing in personnel size contributed to Ferguson’s retirement decision.
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