New Baltimore Police Commissioner Harrison adds 2 more top-level New Orleans police officials to his staff

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison is the former police superintendent in New Orleans.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison is the former police superintendent in New Orleans. (Kenneth K. Lam / The Baltimore Sun)

New Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has recruited two more top officials from the New Orleans Police Department to join him in Baltimore — including its chief of consent decree compliance.

The New Orleans Police Department announced the news Friday, after which Harrison confirmed it.


Daniel Murphy is the New Orleans department’s deputy superintendent of compliance, and leads the department’s implementation of reforms mandated by its consent decree. In Baltimore, Murphy will oversee the Baltimore Police Department’s compliance with its own, similar federal consent decree, Harrison said.

Eric Melancon, the other official coming to Baltimore, is the deputy chief of staff in the New Orleans department. He will serve as Harrison’s chief of staff in Baltimore, Harrison said.


Harrison said he was excited the two men accepted his offers to join the Baltimore force.

“Both men are talented, innovative, hard-working public servants who played major roles in reforming the New Orleans Police Department and successfully implementing the New Orleans consent decree,” Harrison said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with them again to improve BPD, reduce crime and rebuild our relationships with the community.”

Harrison noted both appointments are pending approval by the Baltimore Board of Estimates, which is the city’s spending board. He provided no salary information.

Harrison worked at the New Orleans department for nearly three decades and as superintendent since 2014. He retired from the department to take the commissioner position in Baltimore

Michael Harrison, Baltimore's first permanent police commissioner in 10 months, has received unanimous support from City Council. That means he's also launched on a complex mission: drive down historically high rates of violent crime while reforming a dysfunctional department.

The New Orleans department said Murphy and Melancon’s last day in New Orleans would be March 29. Neither Melancon nor Murphy could be reached for comment.

Murphy joined the New Orleans department as a consent decree compliance manager in 2014, the same year Harrison took over as superintendent. He is a native of New Orleans, and holds a business degree from the University of New Orleans, according to that department.

Melancon arrived at the New Orleans Police Department in 2017 from the administration of former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Both Harrison and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh have called Landrieu a mentor.

James Bentley, a spokesman for Pugh, said on Friday that Harrison has always “made it clear that he’s going to look for the best talent,” and his latest hires represent him “bringing in the people he needs.”

“We look forward to meeting them and getting to know them,” Bentley said.

Michael Harrison, who left the New Orleans department to become Baltimore’s next police commissioner, is again taking the challenge of leading a troubled department through expansive court-ordered reforms, while also dealing with a community largely distrustful of police.

New Orleans Superintendent Shaun Ferguson credited Melancon and Murphy with playing critical roles in improving the New Orleans department under its consent decree in recent years.

“While we certainly don’t want them to leave, we wish them well and thank them for all they have done,” Ferguson said.

Harrison started Feb. 11 as Baltimore’s acting commissioner, was confirmed Monday by the City Council and was sworn in Tuesday.

In a recent interview with The Baltimore Sun, Harrison said he was eager to start shaping his command staff in the city.

“There is talent within, but it will be a combination of bringing some dynamic folks from wherever they may exist to the team, and create this collaborative team of people from within and people who will join us to reform the department,” he said.

Harrison said he expected that Jim Gillis, the department’s chief of staff, and Michelle Wirzberger, the chief of the department’s consent decree implementation unit, would “remain in senior-level positions."

“Their skills, experience and passion will be very much needed as we work towards making Baltimore a better and safer city,” Harrison said.

Neither Gillis or Wirzberger could be reached for comment.

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