NOPD Chief, NOLA District Attorney. New Orleans Police

Former New Orleans Police Department Chief Assumes New Position With NOLA District Attorney’s Office

The NOPD retiree now leads the NOLA District Attorney's Office's Open Source Intelligence Taskforce as director of forensics and intelligence.

Michelle Woodfork, who previously made history as the interim chief of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), has embarked on a new professional journey within District Attorney Jason Williams’ office, according to an announcement made on April 30.

The 53-year-old hung up her NOPD badge on March 1; however, her commitment to public service continues as she assumes the mantle of director of forensics and intelligence. Nola noted that Woodfork’s new role, which started on Tuesday, requires her to spearhead the office’s Open Source Intelligence Taskforce, born out of a partnership between the agency and artificial intelligence firm Bancroft Global Development.

Woodfork’s responsibilities will include close collaboration with the NOPD’s homicide division and coordination of cases as they transition within the court. Officials asserted that Woodfork’s expertise will bolster efforts to “strengthen homicide and violent crime prosecutions.” DA Williams explained that open-source intelligence primarily encompasses digital data gathered from social media posts to assist in investigating perpetrators.

The former lieutenant is sure her experience and leadership at the NOPD will greatly benefit the district attorney’s office. Her appointment carries profound historical significance, as she shattered glass ceilings by becoming the NOPD’s first woman police chief in 2022. Adding to her trailblazing legacy, she is the niece of Warren Woodfork, the department’s pioneering Black superintendent, while her father, Richard Woodfork, served from 1968 to 1974.

DA Williams acknowledged Woodfork for her contributions to the city’s 40% reduction in homicides, attributing the progress to her “instrumental” leadership as interim superintendent. He lauded her as “a tried and tested law woman…the kind of person you want on your team.”

The criminal justice graduate boasts an accomplished background that includes investigating sexual crimes and child abuse cases, coupled with academic credentials from Southern University of New Orleans and St. Mary’s Academy High School.

Woodfork discussed her retirement with WDSU in March. “I had the opportunity to make a lot of changes to the department, and of course I did,” she said. “Every decision that I made was intentional, thinking of the citizens of this city, the men and women of this police department, and what was best.” She added that she was committed to giving NOPD “everything” she had before she walked away.