Who is Michael Harrison, Baltimore Mayor Pugh's next pick for police commissioner?

Mayor Catherine Pugh has chosen New Orleans police superintendent Michael Harrison as her latest pick for police commissioner a day after Joel Fitzgerald withdrew his name from consideration for the job.

Harrison has headed the New Orleans Police Department for nearly five years. Here’s what we know about him:

» Harrison has held the top police spot in New Orleans since August 2014, when he was appointed by former Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He was reappointed in May 2018 by Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

He has served the New Orleans Police Department since 1991 in roles including narcotics detective, commander of the department’s Special Investigations Division and commander of the city’s Seventh Police District, according to the New Orleans Police Department website.

» Like Baltimore’s police department, New Orleans is also under a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. The department entered into the consent decree in 2012 to improve policing after the DOJ alleged unconstitutional conduct by police.

» The New Orleans police department had over 1,100 sworn officers as of 2017.

» In July 2017, a survey conducted by the consent decree monitoring team found that almost 80 percent of 281 rank-and-file officers who were questioned in the survey said Harrison was “leading the department in the right direction.”

A survey of New Orleans’ residents earlier in 2017 found some improvements in the perception of the police department, but also remaining dissatisfaction.

» Before joining the police department, Harrison served in the Louisiana Air National Guard for eight years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Loyola University, among other management degrees.

» Harrison is a member of the Police Executive Research Forum, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, among other memberships.

» He did not apply for the Baltimore commissioner job; instead, he was recommended by a panel of police executives who met with the top picks for the position.

» About a month ago, Harrison told the Times-Picayune he was staying put in New Orleans despite being eyed for the job in Baltimore. But Harrison told Pugh the he informed the New Orleans mayor he will retire from the New Orleans Police Department, according to a press release from Pugh.

» Harrison is a New Orleans native and a resident of Algiers. He is married to C.C. Harrison and has two children, Michael and Tayler.

Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Rector contributed to this article.

smeehan@baltsun.com

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