Next BPD com­mis­sioner needs a new strat­egy

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Karl Bickel

Mayor Cather­ine Pugh’s pick for Bal­ti­more po­lice com­mis­sioner — newly re­tired New Or­leans Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Michael Har­ri­son — of­fi­cially as­sumes his role this week and kicks off a series of com­mu­nity meet­ings ahead of a vote on his nom­i­na­tion. While he has been widely praised as a solid choice, and a par­tic­u­lar im­prove­ment over the mayor’s first pick, it may be time to pause and think about the path for­ward for the be­lea­guered depart­ment.

Since the year 2000, the Bal­ti­more Po­lice Depart­ment has had nine com­mis­sion­ers, in­terim and oth­er­wise; Mr. Har­ri­son will be the tenth (and the fifth just since 2015). We have seen time and again that bring­ing in a new com­mis­sioner, no mat­ter how good they may be, who then ap­points a few friends and col­leagues to key po­si­tions, does not pro­duce the or­ga­ni­za­tional trans­for­ma­tion re­quired for a 21st-cen­tury po­lice depart­ment.

The Bal­ti­more Po­lice Depart­ment in par­tic­u­lar needs more. It has been hob­bled by com­mu­nity mis­trust, cor­rupt prac­tices and in­com­pe­tence, along with a lack of qual­ity lead­er­ship at all lev­els. These prob­lems have been mount­ing for years and will not be re­solved overnight.

The Bal­ti­more Po­lice Depart­ment ... has been hob­bled by com­mu­nity mis­trust, cor­rupt prac­tices and in­com­pe­tence, along with a lack of qual­ity lead­er­ship at all lev­els. These prob­lems have been mount­ing for years and will not be re­solved overnight.

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