Harbor Police Department
Port of New Orleans



Effective: 08/05/96

Revised: 03/11/2005


The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans was created in 1896 by Act 70 of the Louisiana Legislature. By 1900, Act 36 of the Legislature defined the Port’s powers, which included policing authority.

Over the next two decades, the Port’s police force was divided into several units under various departments at the Port. At one time, the Port paid the New Orleans Police Department an annual sum of $12,500 to police the docks. In 1919, these various units were placed under the Harbor Police Department, a division of the Docks Department. Legislative Act 101 of 1920 granted full policing powers to the Harbor Police, which the Port had organized, commissioned and placed under bond as its official police agency.

The employment of personnel of the Harbor Police was handled through the Port’s Personnel Department with requisites of age, height, weight, medical and educational standards. In 1943 the State Merit System of Civil Service became operative, and the Board of Commissioners immediately placed the members of the Harbor Police under Civil Service.

In 1956, the department added the patrol and rescue boats. The vessels remain in service today for rescue missions, enforcement of Louisiana’s fishing and shrimping laws, as well as homeland security patrols. Officers assigned to the patrol boats participate in safety and rescue drills with federal and state enforcement agencies in order to prepare for any incident which may occur in the area.

In 1970 the department became part of the Louisiana State Police Computer System. This system links the department to other states for motor vehicle information and is also linked to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center computer network. The system allows instantaneous access to warrants, criminal history and law enforcement information on a national and international level.

In 1974 the Harbor Police Academy was created and granted Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T) accreditation as a certified basic training academy for law enforcement officers. The Harbor Police Academy is one of 22 P.O.S.T. certified academies in the State of Louisiana. In addition to Harbor Police recruits, the academy trains recruits for the Orleans Levee Board, Crescent City Connection, St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office, other Louisiana Sheriff’s Offices and Police Departments as well as officers from universities and colleges in the metropolitan New Orleans area.

The department is now comprised of 62 commissioned officers. Until 1977, the officers patrolled their beats by walking. Since then, the department has become mobilized as officers now patrol their assigned areas in police vehicles, covered scooters, bicycles and patrol boats. Harbor Police officers receive up to date anti-terrorism training and are tasked with boarding all ocean going vessels in port to ensure safety along the Port of New Orleans river front. Homeland Security is a major part of the mission of the Harbor Police.

The department also incorporated several specialized divisions to ensure safety throughout the Port of New Orleans. The Criminal Investigations Division conducts follow up investigations relating to various crimes in the Port area. The Bicycle Division patrols areas of the Port which are not easily accessible to vehicular traffic. The Cruise Terminal Division is charged with ensuring safety to all persons in and around the cruise terminals, verifying security perimeters as well as providing law enforcement services at the terminals when cruise ships are in port. The Internal Affairs Division conducts investigations of allegations of officer misconduct. The Patrol Boat Division provides marine patrols of the Port’s waterways. The Homeland Security Division continually updates MTSA security measures for the entire Port and works with numerous federal and state enforcement agencies in order to provide efficient homeland security in port areas.

The Harbor Police Department works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the United States Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies. The Harbor Police Department is a member of numerous law enforcement committees and work groups. These include the F.B.I. Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the U. S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC), the U. S. Coast Guard Area Maritime Security Committee (AMS) and the Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Workgroup. The Department is also an active member of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).

The necessity for the Port of New Orleans to maintain its own police department is greater now than ever. The current threats against our country have placed the Port of New Orleans on a higher alert. The Harbor Police Department is charged with ensuring security and safety for the welfare of life, liberty and property. The Port of New Orleans owns or controls 22 miles of wharves and terminals spread along the Mississippi River, the Industrial Canal and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The Port’s facilities, valued at over $700 million, include 22 million square feet of cargo-handling area and over 7.5 million square feet of covered storage. In the course of a year, more than 30 million tons of bulk and general cargo pass through the Port of New Orleans. Approximately 5,000 foreign flagged vessels navigate to and from various docks in the Port of New Orleans in the course of a year. Disruption of this trade would have a severe economic impact on our nation. The Port’s Harbor Police are charged with ensuring the free flow of this commerce.

The Harbor Police Department Headquarters has been located at various sites along the Mississippi River. In the past, the HPD headquarters building has been located at the present site of the World Trade Center and the Aquarium of the Americas. Presently, the headquarters building is located at No. 1 Third Street in uptown New Orleans.

In 1947 the Harbor Police Department named its first Chief of Police. The following is a historical list of all those that served the department and the Port as Chief of its police force:

  1. L. H. Deutschmann, appointed June 1, 1947, retired June 5, 1973.

  2. Edwin G. Pritchard, Jr., appointed June 12, 1973, retired July 1, 1977.

  3. Jimmy L. Jones, appointed September 1, 1977, resigned December 12, 1978.

  4. Joseph S. Cannatella, Jr., appointed December 11, 1978, resigned October 26, 1985.

  5. Archie T. Ben, appointed October 26, 1985, re-assigned to an executive position in 1994 and retired on January 6, 1996.

  6. Major Malcolm McGee, detailed as interim commander, October 1994 to October 30, 1995.

  7. Robert S. Hecker, a 28 year veteran with the New Orleans Police Department, appointed October 30, 1995 to present.