IACP, Cantrell Announce Finalists for NOPD Chief

Picture courtesy of the NOPD Facebook page

On Monday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) announced three finalists in the search for the next Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). According to a press release sent by Mayor Cantrell’s office, the ICAP conducted panel interviews of six semifinal candidates on July 20-21, 2023. Two have since withdrawn their applications, and a third was eliminated from consideration by Cantrell.

Thedrick Andres, Sr.

According to a WWL-TV report, former Henderson, Nev. Police Chief Thedrick Andres is the frontrunner for the superintendent position, although he may also be the most controversial. According to reports, Henderson fatally shot 45-year-old Juan May while off duty outside a Duncanville, TX restaurant. Andres insisted he was acting in self-defense, and criminal charges were never filed against him in the case. An internal investigation conducted by the Arlington Police Department, where Andres was a sergeant at the time, found no evidence of wrongdoing, and a civil lawsuit filed by the deceased’s family was dismissed in 2018.

Andres retired from the Henderson Police Department after more than 95 percent of police union members voted “no confidence” in him following his attempt to implement a new “use of force” policy. The policy would have required officers to attempt de-escalation measures first before using force whenever possible – something the union members apparently took exception to. In an interview following the vote, Andres said he believed the unions wanted to maintain “policies of the past that don’t hold them accountable.”

Anne Kirkpatrick

Anne Kirkpatrick served as the Oakland, CA police chief for three years before being fired in 2020 because she refused to offer special treatment to Oakland police commission members. In 2022, a jury found that Kirkpatrick was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on corruption within the Oakland Police Commission, and ordered the city to pay her $1.5 million in damages. Before her time in Oakland, Kirkpatrick served as a police bureau chief in Chicago, and as an undersheriff in King County, Washington. She also served as police chief in Spokane, Washington from 2006-2012.

Michelle Woodfork

Woodfork currently serves as the interim NOPD Superintendent, having been assigned to the role in December after former Superintendent Shaun Ferguson retired. Many believe that she is Cantrell’s preferred candidate, as the mayor stated when appointing Woodfork as Interim Superintendent that any national search should begin with her.

Woodfork has served with the NOPD for 34 years. She was promoted to captain in 2021, and has supervised the department’s recruiting efforts during a time when NOPD has struggled to bring in new officers. Previously, she served as a part of the department’s sex crimes unit. One potential hurdle she must overcome is her previous allegations of domestic violence and administrative complaints. Though the complaints are 20 to 30 years old now, two of the complaints resulted in suspensions and demotions for Woodfork after internal investigators found that she lied to them.

The ICAP will conduct a full background investigation of the finalists before making a final selection. The New Orleans City Council will then conduct a confirmation hearing, as required by the Home Rule Charter. It’s unknown how long this process will take.

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