Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After more than three decades with Baltimore City Police, Wednesday is Commissioner Fred Bealefeld’s last day.
Mike Schuh has more on Bealefeld’s impact on city safety.
Fred Bealefeld has been with the department for 31 years, the last five of those spent as one of the city’s longest-serving police commissioners.
Wednesday Bealefeld is hanging up his hat, leaving behind a legacy that’s included significant declines in crime and violence in the city.
Just last month, Commissioner Fred Bealefeld made his final neighborhood walk, saying goodbye to the communities he serves.
Baltimore’s homicide rate has been on a steady decline during his five years. It was down 12 percent last year and registered fewer than 200 murders for the first time since 1978.
Bealefeld reflected on his career after announcing his retirement.
“I inherited a police department that was averaging 100,000 adult arrests. We were making half that number and being much more successful and that’s not dependent on the weather, that’s not signs of the zodiac or high tides at the harbor. That’s a concerted, conscious effort, a very deliberate leadership change in what this police department was doing before I took over,” he said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has said Bealefeld has been an extremely effective leader who will be missed.
As for the new police commissioner, Bealefeld offered up his thoughts.
“I think you’re going to pick a successor, find somebody that feels like they’re responsible for all of it,” he said.
In the search for the commissioner’s replacement, the mayor has appointed a special committee.
A final decision has not been made, but acting commissioner Anthony Barksdale is considered the in-house favorite.
Bealefeld is one of the longest-serving commissioners in recent history.