Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro named outgoing New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Deputy Superintendent Kirk Bouyelas as the DA's chief investigator last week. Reading from a prepared statement at his office, 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, the past six as deputy superintendent — 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 retired from NOPD on June 27 and will enter the DA's office June 30. He said his decision to leave is not based on dissatisfaction with the NOPD. His retirement from NOPD marks the third departure from police Supt. Ronal Serpas' inner circle this year. Last month, after more than 30 years with the force, former NOPD commander Edwin Hosli took a job with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's office in its special operations division. And in April, Remi Braden — who is still listed on the NOPD website as its communications director — left NOPD after three years as the department's and chief's spokeswoman.
Bouyelas said he anticipates a "smooth transition" as he moves from the NOPD side of directing the MAG Unit, which is responsible for recent federal indictments, including some against the Mother's Day 2013 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," he said. "My work in the criminal justice system is going to be the same as it is. 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 did not know if NOPD has appointed his successor. NOPD did not respond to Gambit's request for comment by press time.