BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Catherine Pugh named New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael S. Harrison as her choice for Baltimore Police Commissioner.
Pugh told reporters Monday that Harrison is known as one of the top police chiefs in the country.
Last year, New Orleans saw its lowest number of homicides since 1971.
Superintendent Harrison credited the use of crime cameras, and the work of a tactical team focused on arresting repeat violent offenders.
Reports out of New Orleans say Superintendent Harrison has helped lead the police department through a federal consent decree, like the one Baltimore is under.
Last year, a federal judge said his department had made “tremendous progress in reforming itself.”
A statement from the Mayor’s office said Superintendent Harrison informed the New Orleans Mayor of his decision to retire from the New Orleans Police Department. The statement said Harrison spent 27 years on the force and led the department since 2014.
“Superintendent Harrison has achieved clear, compelling and consistent results in reducing violent crime, implementing a federally-mandated consent decree, increasing police recruitment, introducing advanced technologies, and deploying proactive and effective policing strategies that reflect 21st century, constitutional policing,” Pugh said in the statement. “He will bring not only significant and relevant experience to addressing the challenges of Baltimore, but the insight and sensitivity needed to reestablish essential trust and confidence of citizens in their police officers.”
Pugh told reporters Monday that the process to find a police chief started months ago. She said she got advice from police chiefs and experts from around the country on what type of leader Baltimore city police would need.
The commissioner-delegate will participate in meetings with community leaders, neighborhood associations and citizens before a formal submission of his nomination to the City Council.
“I’m honored by Mayor Pugh’s confidence in my abilities and approach and look forward to getting to Baltimore in the coming weeks to engage broadly with residents about the challenges to public safety and confidence in their police department,” – Commissioner-designate Harrison in the statement.
Superintendent Harrison was appointed by the Mayor one day after Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald removed his name from consideration due to a medical emergency involving his son.
If confirmed, Superintendent Harrison would replace Darryl De Sousa who resigned his position back in May after facing charges for failing to file his taxes for three years.
Harrison, 49, was already retiring from the New Orleans Police.
Mayor Pugh released a statement from Harrison later Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m honored by Mayor Pugh’s confidence in my abilities and approach and look forward to getting to Baltimore in the coming weeks to engage broadly with residents about the challenges to public safety and confidence in their police department.
My first priority will be to drive meaningful cultural change within the Department such that not only is there a renewed sense of purpose and mission among those sworn to protect and service, but that citizens’ trust is restored to a new level that enables true collaboration and confidence. Only then can we make sustained progress in reducing violence in close partnership with those who have the most at stake.
I am inspired by the approaches Mayor Pugh has introduced to address the root causes of violent crime and disrupt the lure of criminal life among those young people most at risk.
I look forward to partnering with her, the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department, and the community to build on the clear momentum underway,”
This is a developing story. Stay with WJZ for updates.