Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City officially has a new top cop. Commissioner Anthony Batts was sworn in by the mayor. Now the heavy task of keeping the city safe is on his shoulders.
Meghan McCorkell spoke with the new commissioner.
The new commissioner has already promised to reduce violent crime in Baltimore and hold perpetrators accountable.
Dr. Anthony Batts takes over the helm of the Baltimore City Police Department. No easy task as the murder rate creeps up.
“My message to the community is ‘we’re on it, and we’re going to stay on top of it,” Batts said.
The commissioner–already taking action– is retooling command staff, targeting gangs and working on a long-term crime strategy.
But crime continues to make headlines. A man is comatose after he was beaten by a group of teens downtown last week. And the videotaped beating of a tourist on St. Patrick’s Day had some county leaders questioning city safety.
McCorkell: “What will you be doing to make sure that visitors stay safe here in our city?”
Batts: “Everything that I just said is that we’re staying on top of the crime, getting out in the community, taking our police department to the next level, to the next evolution.”
In Charles Village at the same neighborhood where a Johns Hopkins researcher was murdered, community leader Diana Mitchell would like some time with the new commissioner.
“We would love to have him come out on one of our community walks so he can see and hear what some of the resident concerns are,” Mitchell said.
One of the other issues in Charles Village is dim lighting in some areas, which creates the opportunity for crime. It’s a problem they hope to voice when the head of the department hits the streets.
The new commissioner is developing a community policing section so officers can work hand-in-hand with members of the community.
Batts is the city’s 37th police commissioner. He previously served as police chief in both Long Beach and Oakland, Calif.