Deepening the influence of New York Police Department tactics on the troubled New Orleans police force, the former head of NYPD's patrol division is set to join New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration as "consulting chief of operations," Nola.com reports. Fausto Pichardo, 45, who rose to become the second-highest ranking officer in NYPD before he resigned abruptly in 2020, is one of two former top NYPD officials who have recently conducted a “rapid 10-day assessment” of the beleaguered New Orleans force. The extent of Pichardo’s influence over the department while Superintendent Shaun Ferguson remains as its chief is unclear. In an email to staff, Ferguson asked officers to “cooperate with Chief Pichardo as my representative.”
Public confidence in NOPD and Cantrell have plunged as business and community leaders grow increasingly alarmed by rising violent crime rates. Pichardo's hire comes as the department reels from a swift exodus of officers who have left complaining of unfair discipline and promotions, run-down gear, lax leadership, oppressive call backlogs and little sign of help on the way. Among his tasks, Pichardo “will begin working with us today to ascertain exactly where our full-duty cops are and how they might soon be reorganized," Ferguson wrote. Pichardo was a 24-year NYPD veteran overseeing some 17,000 patrol officers, and was the first Dominican American in the post, when he resigned. News accounts describe a rift with former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. In New Orleans, homicides so far in 2022 total 190, the highest since 1996, according to crime analyst Jeff Asher.