BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City’s Mayor is trying to fill two top criminal justice positions in 2019.
They include not only confirming a commissioner but also finding a director for the Office of Criminal Justice.
The director’s post comes with a six-figure salary and serves as the point person for contact with the state as well as administering millions of dollars in grant money.
Former Deputy Commissioner Tony Barksdale is under consideration for that job.
Now retired, Barksdale answered questions earlier this month before a state commission investigating the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force.
“Let’s go after the criminals, but we’ve also got to go after the dirty cops,” Barksdale said before the commission on December 18.
He advocated for a more data-driven approach, referencing ComStat and CitiStat programs that he said were instrumental in getting the number of murders below 200 in 2011.
Barksdale, however, was critical on his now-deleted Twitter account of the consent decree, and there were concerns about heavy-handed tactics of plainclothes units during his tenure.
He told the commission he has no tolerance for “zero-tolerance” policing. “Zero tolerance is a failed tactic that should be banished because it’s no good.“
Mayor Pugh said Barksdale is one of several candidates under consideration for the director post.
She spoke Thursday at a vigil for Baltimore’s 304 murder victims in 2018, a number she noted had declined from the 342?in 2017 but acknowledged “that doesn’t mean anything” to victims and their families.
“We acknowledge that we have a violence problem in our city,“ the mayor said. “We have too many guns on the streets of our city.“
Mayor Pugh is still trying to get the city council to approve her choice for commissioner, current Fort Worth, Texas Chief Joel Fitzgerald.
The council is expected to vote on Fitzgerald in late January after hearings. He’s faced an unprecedented amount of scrutiny after Mayor Pugh’s last choice for commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, resigned from office in May after only a few months.
De Sousa pleaded guilty to federal tax charges and awaits sentencing.