Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore City Council’s Nominations Committee is meeting right now to decide if the city’s new police commissioner should be confirmed by the full council.
Political Reporter Pat Warren looks at some of the hurdles Anthony Batts may have to clear.
On any given day:
“I was awakened by a gunshot,” one Baltimore resident said.
…Safety is a concern.
“I seen all those police cars sitting over,” said another.
The city conducted a nationwide search for a new police commissioner. Acting commissioner Anthony Barksdale wanted the job.
“I’ve seen what happens when outsiders come in,” he said.
Anthony Batts comes to Baltimore from top cop posts in Long Beach and Oakland in California.
Barksdale took indefinite leave after Batts was hired. While waiting for confirmation, a contract has already been signed and Batts has been meeting residents.
In his short weeks as commissioner, Batts is already riding a tide of protest over the death of Anthony Anderson who died in police custody last month. Community members brought their concerns to City Hall Wednesday night.
And other residents have been vocal about what they think of the new leadership.
“He sounds like he’s for the people,” a Baltimore resident said.
“I just hope they talk to the officers and tell them to be more respectful,” Samuel Macer said.
Councilmembers tell WJZ some of the questions they have for Batts.
“The frontier mentality– I call it– toward gun violence in our city needs to stop. And hopefully, he can address that,” Councilman Robert Curran of District 3 said.
“It’s actually the property crime is what people I get the most complaints about– the burglaries, that’s what is causing people to leave the city,” said Councilman Brandon Scott of District 2.
The new commissioner has a big part in assuring that they stay.
The Nominations Committee is expected to recommend confirmation. The full council could vote on Monday.
Commissioner Batts replaces Fred Bealefeld who retired in August after 30 years in the Baltimore Police Department.