Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s next top cop hits the city streets. Dr. Anthony Batts–the mayor’s pick for city police commissioner–gets his first taste of the community on a walk with the mayor Tuesday night.
Kai Jackson spoke with the new arrival and the people he’s promising to protect.
Batts will head a department that was led by a very respected and successful commissioner, yet he brings his own experience and ideas to the table.
It’s a neighborhood walk in Northwest Baltimore Tuesday night–with a new neighbor: Baltimore’s new police commissioner-designate Anthony Batts.
“Baltimore is doing a lot of the right things. You have crime reduction going on because you’re putting a lot of the right pieces in place,” Batts said.
“I just hope that they talk to the officers and tell ‘em be more respectful and know how to treat people like people,” said 17-year-old Samuel Macer.
Batts complimented his predecessor, retired commissioner Fred Bealefeld, yet he also has his own plan of action.
“In this community, they asked about the motorcycles that are out here,” Batts said. “I asked the question, if we take those things, why can’t we destroy them?”
Batts has spent his law enforcement career in California. He was chief of the Long Beach police for 27 years. He was chief of the Oakland police department from 2009-2011. He resigned after a conflict with the mayor.
“He has a great background and a great vision and I look forward to working in partnership with him and the community to make Baltimore a safer city,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church is an anchor in the Northwest Baltimore community. They serve Head Start meals and they’re the headquarters of the Safe Streets program. The pastor says what they’re looking for in the next police commissioner is continued support.
“My initial impressions of Dr. Batts are very positive. He seems to be a very personable and knowledgeable gentlemen so we’re looking forward to that kind of a person coming to work in the police department of Baltimore City,” said Rev. Frank Lance.
Batts was born in Washington, D.C. and says most of his family is in the region.