New Orleans, La. – Serpas took his oath of office from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who campaigned that stemming violent crime would be his top priority. He says he chose Serpas because of his achievements in that area as chief of police in Nashville, where he just left. And Serpas grew up in New Orleans and understands the culture. Serpas says his mission is clear.
"My expectation of service by our team is simple and straightforward: truthfulness and ethical behavior. They'll be no tolerance for deviation. Professional treatment of our citizen in every encounter, be it a call for service, a warrant to be served, an arrest to be made or a vehicle stop to conduct throughout all parts of New Orleans."
During the ceremony at Gallier Hall, protesters could be heard outside, angry that Landrieu chose an NOPD veteran insider to overhaul the department.
"I say I get it. I mean, the protesters outside are telling us that over these last many years they have felt like there's a hopelessness. And I understand that and I appreciate that. And being a native New Orleanian, I think I probably appreciate it more than anyone else. Our job is to build these communities one step at a time, one neighborhood at a time."
There was a lighthearted exchange with the mayor.
"Well actually you would not be surprised but this is the same coat I wore nine years ago when I left ..Take him about a week to get out of it."
Serpas says he will allow the public and news media access to his meetings with top officers when reviewing what crimes have occurred, and what's being done.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming