BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The University of Maryland, Baltimore Police Department found its next police chief within its own ranks.

Thomas Leone, a six-year veteran of the agency who’s served as interim chief of police since June 2020, has been named the permanent chief of police, the university announced Tuesday.

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Leone, who holds a master’s degree and brings more than 20 years of experience from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, was selected for the department’s top role after a nationwide search.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to work with a team of such committed, hard-working people. I’m honored to serve as their Chief and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. I’m committed to serving this community with integrity, equity, and accountability,” Chief Leone said of the news.

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Since Leone took charge of the police department, it has received dual accreditation for professional excellence in public safety. He has also expanded the department’s training program to cover topics such as implicit bias, pro-LGBTQ+ policing, mental health first aid, as well as guiding principals for use of force.

In addition, Leone has formed committees with members of the UMB community with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Among his other achievements as interim police chief are a 54.7-percent reduction in crime in 2020, the establishment of a body-worn camera program to improve transparency and the development of mentorship opportunities for security officers who are interested in becoming police.

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“We are making wonderful progress, but this is just one step in a long journey,” Leone said. “I am committed to the communities we serve – to building positive relationships – and we will work every day to continue to learn and grow.”

CBS Baltimore Staff