By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– With the soaring murder rate and corruption within the Baltimore Police Department, the acting police commissioner is facing some tough challenges in his new role.

Thirty-year veteran Darryl De Sousa says proactive policing is the focus as he steps into his role as the city’s 40th commissioner.

[REPORTER: We almost made it two weeks without a murder here in Baltimore City. That could have been huge for the city.]

“I’m not counting,” De Sousa said. “I don’t think there’s a single community person out there that wants a homicide or shooting in their community in their front yard or their back yard. They want, just as much as the community wants–no violence. No homicides. No shootings. 12 days yes, it was positive. It gave a lot of people hope. But I want to say–it’s early, its early on.”

“The most important thing we can do is putting more officers on the streets in a visible capacity and giving them a clear mission defining what the strategy is,” he said. “Unfortunately the city is plagued with men that make a conscious effort to pick a gun up and kind of settle their beefs by way of a gunfire.”

“It’s a responsibility for all of us to come up with a co-production plan that’s going to help Baltimore.”

[REPORTER: What would you tell someone who says they are scared to go into Baltimore City.]

“I am encouraged in the direction we are going. There are a lot of pieces that are moving all at one time. My goal is to make the police department a 21st century policing department, and quite frankly, make this the best department in the country.”

“The community and the police department equally have a voice and we can all sit at the same table and make policies and make crime plans together and hold each other accountable.”

[REPORTER: The Gun Trace Task Force trial. Another huge hit for the department. How do you restore the community’s trust in the Baltimore City Police Department?]

“I plan to do a formal apology very soon,” De Sousa said. “Building trust is not easy. We have great folks that trust us in the community. I feel personally, like we let them down, and I feel that we even have to take a more aggressive stance in terms of our positive engagement.”

“It’s a challenge, I am going to embrace it. I want the community to know that I am not going to give up on them or the police department, and it’s my vision and my goal–if it runs me into the ground, I’m going to do my very best not to let the citizens down of Baltimore and let the police department down.”

The commissioner also told WJZ he’s eager to role out new technology that’ll aid in policing and retaining officers in the department.

A public hearing on De Sousa’s nomination will take place on February 21.

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