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Ronal Serpas

Professor of Practice

Ronal Serpas
Ronal Serpas

Ronal W. Serpas, Ph.D., is a full-time faculty member and Professor of Practice, Criminology and Justice, Loyola University New Orleans, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses since August of 2014.  Dr. Serpas recently retired from a 34-year career in American law enforcement.  From 2001 – 2014 he served as the Police Superintendent in New Orleans, LA, Police Chief in Nashville, TN and Chief of the Washington State Patrol.   


Dr. Serpas was a successful change agent implementing organizational wide transformation, advancing Community Policing and implementing Justice and Legitimacy principles in the delivery of police service. In each department, significant decreases in crime and increases in citizen satisfaction were achieved and sustained.  Dr. Serpas was a leader for more than twenty years in creating innovative changes in recruitment, retention, promotion, patrol deployment, criminal investigations, disciplinary investigations and actions, use of force policies and the investigations of the use of force.


While Superintendent of Police in New Orleans, Dr. Serpas worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Team, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the FBI to investigate several Federal Criminal Civil Rights cases and other criminal and significant administrative violations of police officers before and after Hurricane Katrina.  This work also included the negotiation of the New Orleans Police Department Consent Decree and early implementation of its requirements.


Dr. Serpas is an expert in managing the police response to significant events, planned and unplanned.  As the Superintendent of Police in New Orleans, he oversaw police responses to the 2012 BCS National Championship Football Game, the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, NFL Super Bowl XLVII, the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four, and, the 2014 NBA All-Star game. Dr. Serpas was the Chief Operating Officer of the NOPD and oversaw the police response to Super Bowl XXXL. New Orleans hosts annually the eleven-day Mardi Gras season, Jazz Festival, French Quarter Festival, Essence Festival, and the NCAA Sugar Bowl Classic.


Dr. Serpas is a Board Member of the National Police Foundation and a Steering Committee Member of the Vera Institute of Justice Policing Program.  In October 2017 Dr. Serpas was designated by the membership as the 5th Honorary President in the 125-year history of the International Association of Chiefs of Police[1] (IACP).  Dr. Serpas is a Past Vice President of the IACP, former Chair of the IACP Community Policing Committee, founding Co-Chair of the IACP Research Advisory Committee and a Past Parliamentarian. Dr. Serpas is the founding Chairman and Executive Director of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration (a collaborative of the Brennan Center and the NYU-School of Law) and served as a National Advisory Board Member to the National Police Research Platform.   


Dr. Serpas has published several articles on topics such as police accountability systems, police disciplinary systems, firearm violence in America, challenges in crime following natural disasters, implementing Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy and evidenced-based Use of Force policy development.  Dr. Serpas’ expert commentary on crime rates, policing and criminal justice reform has appeared in theNew York Times, USA Today, The Hill, NBC News, CBS News, Fox News, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NPR, Governing Magazine and MSNBC among other outlets.


[1] The IACP, founded in 1893, is the world’s oldest and largest membership organization of chief executives of local, state, federal, tribal and international law enforcement agencies.  The IACP has more than 30,000 members representing 150 countries.



Ph.D., University of New Orleans

Areas of Expertise

Homicide and Violent Crime Reduction

Community Policing

Police Legitimacy and Procedural Justice

Police Media Relations

Police Leadership and Management

Change and Crisis Management

Criminal Investigations - Patrol Operations - Technology and Policing

Internal Investigations - Administrative, Criminal, and Use of Force

Police Response to Major Public Events – Planned and Unplanned

COMPSTAT Policing Strategy

Reducing the Use of Incarceration and Simultaneously Reducing Crime