BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld talks about his retirement. In a surprise move on Thursday, the mayor announced that Baltimore’s top cop is calling it quits.
Pat Warren talks to the commissioner about his reasons for leaving.
Commissioner Bealefeld’s announcement may come as a surprise to the city but he tells WJZ he turns 50 in August and it’s time for the next stage of his life.
Bealefeld commands the eighth largest police force in the country and he still does policing on his beat. His dogged pursuit of “knuckleheads” and “bad guys with guns” has led to some of the lowest homicide and violent crime rates in Baltimore in recent history.
“I inherited a police department that was averaging 100,000 adult arrests and we’re arresting half that number and being much, much more successful,” Bealefeld said. “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. And so I will take credit for that.”
He also believes in community contact, like pitching tents with scouts and greeting citizens where they live. And he told everyone he would cast a net for crooked cops.
“Now everyone’s surprised like, ‘Oh my goodness! There’s corruption in the ranks!’ I told you I was going crabbing. And now you’re surprised I brought back crabs?”
His biggest regret:
“I came here, being even kind to myself, a boy of 19,” he said. “My biggest regret is leaving that behind. In my next chapter of my life, I won’t be a cop.”
“There are a lot of adventures I want to have,” he said.
One of his last adventures as Baltimore City police commissioner will be to aid in the transition to a new regime when that person is selected. His retirement takes effect in August.
The mayor has already begun a nationwide search for Bealefeld’s replacement.