It’s Time, Madame Mayor. Pick Your Police Chief
Yes, that’s exactly what the city needs, a new police chief who’ll take two years to get settled into the job while crime runs rampant. Imagine it, the Saints’ season kicks off. Criminals once again notice that our cars are parked and left vulnerable. Busted windows and a rash of car break-ins ensue. The media loses it: “This can’t be happening!” Armchair pundits and analysts who don’t live in Orleans Parish erupt: “This city is uninhabitable!” All the while, the new chief is like, wait Tulane and Galvez is an intersection, not a law firm?
Supposedly we are a few weeks away from the big announcement. The consultants mayor Cantrell hired will make their picks and recommend up to three finalists for police chief. The mayor, we are told, will then proceed with a rigorous round of one-on-one interviews. These interviews will presumably take place in her office, not the Pontalba. Is that a legal use of the Pontalba? Heart to hearts she’ll call them. Honest, objective assessments to determine who can best lead the NOPD going forward. The mayor will do this then pick Michelle Woodfork, the interim chief she already appointed.
Madame Mayor. Pick Your Police Chief
On cue, the media will lose it: “This can’t be happening!” During the confirmation hearing, Chief Woodfork will appear as red meat before the City Council. Expect Council President J.P. Morrell to be ready — knife and fork in hands, napkin tucked under his chin. Platitudes and pontificating will ensue. Words will be hurled and thrown around, words like rigged, unacceptable, disrespectful of the trust citizens have put forward, an absolute abuse of power. This will be said. Then the Council will have a hard time not confirming Woodfork as chief.
Apparently, Chief Woodfork is well liked in this city, even on conservative white talk radio stations. To date, no Council member or crime analyst has said she’s doing a bad job or that she’s had a negative impact on crime. It’s been the opposite. Murders are down 14%. Morale has supposedly been up at the NOPD since she took over. At this rate, given enough time, she might even earn a “say, bruh all is forgiven” from Noonie Man.
Clearly, Chief Woodfork knows what she’s doing. She knows how to do the job. And she knows how to manage the political end of it. So, if she does become the mayor’s nominee, the one thing that could stop her from being confirmed is actually the mayor.
Unlike Chief Woodfork, Mayor Cantrell may not be as popular as the interim chief, definitely not on white talk radio stations. Three Council members and numerous crime analysts say she’s doing a bad job and that she’s is hurting the city. Even Fred Flintstone voted to have her recalled. As usual, the problem hasn’t been the mayor’s performance per se. It’s been her process.
Madame Mayor. Name Your Police Chief
The mayor was supposed to have a chief picked by June. But her process extends into August without nair one nomination. When asked what’s the holdup, the mayor said, “What I believe is fair is allowing the consultants to do their due diligence [and] to allow me time to do my due diligence.” Translation: you’ll have a chief when I get good and goddamn ready. That’s her process.
Throughout a term and a half, that attitude has not gone over well. All she’s done is rack up negative press and strong adversaries. That her pick for police chief is even having to go through a confirmation hearing is partly her fault.
But again, this is where we are. Typically, it takes a new chief two years to settle in and get a handle on the job. By that time, mayor Cantrell will be on her way out of office. And a new mayor will be elected and ready to bring in their own police chief. So right now, Woodfork makes the most sense. But we’ll see. When the mayor gets good and ready, we’ll find out if Woodfork gets the opportunity she’s earned or if she becomes another casualty in the clash between the mayor and City Council.