Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison revealed his decision to step down from his position. Mayor Brandon Scott made the announcement during a news conference, marking the 11th change in leadership of the Baltimore Police Department since 2000. Harrison, one of the longest-serving Baltimore City police commissioners in over 20 years, has been in the position since March 2019. Let's take a closer look at his tenure and the impact he has had on the department.
A Journey of Reform and Rebuilding:
When Harrison took over as Baltimore Police Commissioner, he inherited a department plagued by issues and under a federal consent decree due to unconstitutional policing. With 28 years of experience in the New Orleans Police Department, including a successful tenure as superintendent, Harrison brought a wealth of knowledge and a track record of implementing reform efforts.
Under Harrison's leadership, the Baltimore Police Department underwent significant changes aimed at rebuilding community trust and addressing systemic issues. He worked towards implementing the federal consent decree requirements, focusing on developing leaders within the department, and fostering better relationships between the police and the community.
Progress and Challenges:
During his time as commissioner, Harrison emphasized the progress made by the department in terms of reforms and crime reduction. He touted the Baltimore Police Department's transformation from an example of everything wrong with policing to a national leader in reform efforts. However, he acknowledged that there was still a long way to go.
While some praised Harrison for his commitment to implementing the consent decree and his efforts to reduce violent crime, others criticized the pace of reform and the challenges that still persisted. The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, which had been at odds with Harrison, expressed its eagerness to work with his successor, Deputy Commissioner Richard Worley.
The Future of the Baltimore Police Department:
Following Harrison's announcement, Mayor Brandon Scott named Deputy Commissioner Richard Worley, a BPD veteran of over 24 years, as the acting commissioner. Worley's meteoric rise within the department and his experience in various leadership roles position him as a potential candidate to lead the department permanently.
Worley's appointment comes at a crucial time for the Baltimore Police Department, as it continues to navigate the implementation of the consent decree and work towards reducing crime rates. The confirmation process within the Baltimore City Council will determine whether Worley assumes the role permanently.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison's decision to step down marks a significant change in leadership for the department. Throughout his tenure, Harrison made strides in implementing reforms and rebuilding community trust. While his departure raises questions about the future direction of the Baltimore Police Department, Acting Commissioner Richard Worley's experience and dedication offer hope for continued progress.