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Baltimore Police Commissioner Davis fired, his deputy commissioner Daryll DeSousa hired

Mary Rose Madden

Mayor Catherine Pugh has fired Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and hired Deputy Commissioner Daryll DeSousa as his replacement.

Pugh announced the change Friday morning.

She said Davis worked hard , but that she'd grown "impatient" waiting for crime numbers in Baltimore to drop and wanted to see "new, creative, innovative ways to change what we're seeing here every day". 

DeSousa said he is an operational type of person.

"I'm a chess player and I don't like to be out-witted," he said.

He said he'll focus on putting more patrol officers on the streets and reducing overtime. He also said he wants to give district commanders more resources. DeSousa, a thirty year veteran of the force, was once a commanding officer of the Northeast District and then chief of the department's patrol division. 

He said Baltimore cops will engage in "proactive, constitutional policing."

In 2016, a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report found Baltimore police regularly violated resident's constitutional rights and used excessive force.  The Baltimore Police Department is operating under a consent decree requiring sweeping reforms. 

Under Commissioner Davis, the city saw 343 homicides last year.

"We can't have that," Pugh said.

Critics have charged that police officers of "pulling back" on their policing because of the critical DOJ report and because of the unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year old African-American man who died in police custody in 2015.  

Baltimore police have also been in the national news recently because of the high level officer corruption cases exposed by the FBI. Six of the eight members of the elite Gun Trace Task Force who were accused of racketeering have pleaded guilty. And Detective Sean Suiter, who was killed last November, was shot the day before he was to testify before a federal grand jury in that case.

No one has been arrested in Suiter's death.

Asked what his plans plans are for that case, DeSousa said he will sit down with the mayor and the FBI and provide the public with "complete transparency with the case."

Mary Rose is a reporter and senior news producer for 88.1 WYPR FM, a National Public Radio member station in Baltimore. At the local news desk, she assigns stories, organizes special coverage, edits news stories, develops series and reports.
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