BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld says goodbye to the neighborhood. The commissioner made his last neighborhood walk Monday.
Pat Warren has reaction from residents.
His walk through an East Baltimore community is indicative of how Commissioner Bealefeld put his stamp on the Baltimore Police Department.
On what is likely his last community patrol, a North Chester Street resident admits she gave the commissioner a hard time.
“If we don’t stand for giving you the ability to say, `Hey, you stink’ and `You’re doing a horrible job and you need to get off your rear end and work harder,’ if you can’t come to a place and say that, then I’m not a very good police commissioner. I appreciate it, I do,” Bealefeld said.
These are among the residents who have learned to appreciate police more in the years of Bealefeld’s leadership.
“I am so proud to see that there are good people like the commissioner who are willing to help us, and boy, do we need help,” said Joseph McCard.
Bealefeld maintains that the best strategy is to target bad guys with guns and connect with the community. Baltimore’s homicide rate has been on a steady decline during his five years, down 12 percent last year and registering fewer than 200 murders for the first time since 1978.
“If someone gets their car stolen, I feel like that’s my fault,” Bealefeld said. “There are a lot of guys and gals wearing this shield that feel that way and if you’re gonna pick a successor, find somebody that feels like they’re responsible for all of it.”
The commissioner’s retirement becomes effective Aug. 1.