Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has named outgoing New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) deputy superintendent Kirk Bouyelas as the DA's chief investigator. Cannizzaro made the announcement at the DA's office this afternoon. Reading from a prepared statement, Cannizzaro said he considered several hires but "one name clearly rose to the top."
Tenisha Stevens, an investigator with the DA's office, was promoted to deputy chief investigator.
Bouyelas follows interim deputy chief Brian Lapeyrolerie and deputy chief Howard Robertson, who died earlier this year. Bouyelas — who has served NOPD for 32 years including as deputy superintendent for the past six years — directs the Multi-Agency Gang (MAG) Unit, made up of local and federal criminal justice authorities.
"The collaboration and coordination this office has shown the police department has been exceptional," Bouyelas said. "The office has grown leaps and bounds, and enables the police department to be a better police department. I believe that coming over here and bringing in some of the experience I've had with the police department and some of the relationships I've had over there, we can make it even better."
Bouyelas retires from NOPD on Friday, June 27 and will enter the DA's office Monday, June 30. He said his decision to leave is not based on dissatisfaction among members of NOPD.
"I'm not leaving because I'm bitter and I'm not leaving because I have to, I'm leaving because I have the opportunity to ... do some really important and great work here," he said. "It's that time for me to move on and open some spots for the younger guys over there who are really talented."
Bouyelas said he anticipates a "smooth transition" as he moves from the NOPD side of directing the MAG Unit, responsible for recent federal indictments including ones against the Mother's Day shooters' alleged gang activity.
"All I'm going to really be doing is switching offices and taking off the uniform and wearing a coat and tie.
My work in the criminal justice system is going to be the same as it is," he said. "I'll still be working with the people I have for the last 32 years and collaborating together ... so at the end of the day we end up with the criminals and perpetrators preying on the citizens of this city behind bars."
"I got myself a first-round draft pick," Cannizzaro said. "That to me is how important this decision is to our office. ... This is not your mama's DA's office. ... We're getting chief Serpas' right hand man. ... This is a win-win situation."
Bouyelas said he was not aware whether NOPD has appointed his successor; NOPD did not immediately respond to Gambit's request for comment.