Mystery of the Retired Cop


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By: Allen Johnson

The mystery over the sudden retirement of New Orleans Deputy Police Chief Anthony Cannatella may have just deepened at NOPD, where bureaucratic intrigues and infighting have rivaled those of the Kremlin.

Heidi Unter, chief operating officer of the nonprofit New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation, has confirmed that Cannatella, a tough, decorated 42-year NOPD veteran, has returned to the force — as a contract employee of the Foundation. “He was assigned to the reserves division,” Unter says. Cannatella left the department abruptly last month, stunning his many loyal subordinates. In a brief press release, NOPD announced he retired June 1 as chief of operations, where he had overseen all patrol officers and specialized units. Conflicting reports as to why he retired fueled speculation that Cannatella left because he and Police Chief Warren Riley were too far apart philosophically, especially on discipline matters. However, on Jan. 25, Cannatella received the coveted Charles E. Dunbar Award for civil service (the police chief normally makes the nomination for the honor). Today, Cannatella is one of 50 retired NOPD officers who is back on the force, thanks to a one-year federal grant of “a little less than a $1 million,” Unter says. She adds: “The Chief (Riley) tells us who he wants.”


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