BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It is among the most important jobs in the city, but just who wants to take on the challenge of leading Baltimore’s police force? A federal investigation, low morale and uncertain politics are among the obstacles.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren with what it means to be Baltimore’s police commissioner.
Several city council members say they want someone who knows Baltimore inside and out, not an outsider. Underscoring the obstacles the next commissioner will face, the violence does not let up–including eight shootings in the past 24 hours.
While Kevin Davis may want the commissioner’s job permanently, it is unclear whether anyone else will.
Leading a department demoralized after the riots.
“There was a lot of flaws in leadership,” said FOP President Gene Ryan.
With an angry union demanding answers over questionable decisions.
“We will continue to bring transparency and accountability to policing,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
And a mayor facing a tough re-election battle.
Former Baltimore County chief of detectives Bob Oatman says attracting candidates will be tough.
“‘Hey, am I going to have this job in three months or is there going to be a brand new mayor?'” said Oatman. “I think we have to take the politics out of this completely–I know that’s impossible to some degree–and get back to policing the streets of Baltimore.”
Davis told WJZ in a one-on-one interview he’s committed to a friendlier department.
“We haven’t done enough to emphasize the humanism that’s necessary to be an effective police officer,” said Davis.
“This is a guy that became deputy commissioner in January of this year, and it’s a little bit–quite honestly–baptism by fire,” said Oatman.
Oatman says whoever takes this job permanently would be wise to take lessons from former commissioner Fred Bealefeld, who earned his colleagues’ respect and got out from behind the desk.
Bealefeld enjoyed a relatively long five-year tenure at the top.
“He was the kind of guy, as most of us know, who would talk to the cop on the beat, he’d ride in the police cars,” said Oatman.
The person Mayor Rawlings-Blake ultimately selects could seal her own fate.
“There’s got to be an understanding–there’s going to be some rough roads along the way. Just, let’s get Baltimore back to where it belongs,” Oatman said.
The mayor is expected at the 300 Men March that starts around 6:45 p.m. at North Avenue and Hilton.
Davis also apologized that some police stations have recently been closed to the public at night and said that would not happen under his watch.