BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The rising homicide rate in Baltimore City is one of the major challenges for Baltimore’s new top cop. The interim commissioner Kevin Davis sits down for a one-on-one interview.
WJZ’s Vic Carter asks the commissioner about his new job and the problems now facing Baltimore.
Commissioner Kevin Davis tells WJZ making the city safe and building trust between the community and his officers are top priorities. He also said that when he woke up Wednesday morning, he had no idea how his day would end.
Carter: “Commissioner, what a 24 hours it has been for you.”
Comm. Davis: “Yeah. It certainly has been.”
Carter: “What happened? Did you get a phone call? How did it happen?”
Comm. Davis: “Like anything else in 2015, it started with a text message, then a phone call and then I had visit with the mayor in the afternoon and then she made her announcement. And I told her what I’ve told everybody else I’ve ever worked for–I won’t let her down.”
Carter: “How do you plan to communicate with the Fraternal Order of Police given the blistering report they came out and delivered [Wednesday]?”
Comm. Davis: “My second phone call after I left City Hall after the mayor’s announcement [Wednesday] was to… Gene and I… He and I will meet in the next couple of days. We had a good, healthy conversation.”
Carter: “You have had time to look over the report by the FOP. What parts do you agree with, what parts do you disagree with?”
Comm. Davis: “It all gets down to the basics of training, equipment and experience. Baltimore has been without a riot since 1968, and the training that’s been afforded to Baltimore police officers for years and years and years has been very basic. It’s really centered around crowd control more-so than riot control. So, controlling a crowd is a far, far different thing than participating in a riot. So we didn’t have the right equipment, we didn’t put our police officers in a position to succeed. And that’s a leadership responsibility. We were significantly short on personnel, and that’s a lesson learned. So the report, I’m sure, points that out. But I just want to remind everybody that hindsight is 20-20; everybody acted with the very best of intentions during that very, very difficult time. Our experience in this regard will be our greatest teacher.”
Carter: “You are a proven police officer. You know what it takes to run a police department. Will it be a little difficult given the fact that your title is ‘interim’ in terms of being able to put policies in place and things that are going to stick around for a while?”
Comm. Davis: “Aren’t we all interim in one regard or another? I’m hitting the ground running, and I intend to focus all my efforts on leading this agency. If I’m going to succeed, I’m going to succeed based on my experiences and the mentors I’ve had along the way. I’m here to work for the community and for the men and women of this organization. And whatever the future holds, the future holds.”
Davis describes departing commissioner Anthony Batts as a friend and mentor and says he wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for him.
Right after his interview with Vic, Commissioner Davis sat with his command staff and outlined his plans for the department.