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Baltimore Approves Harrison As Police Commissioner

Baltimore Approves Harrison As Police Commissioner



The Baltimore City Council on Monday approved Mayor Catherine Pugh’s selection of Michael Harrison for Baltimore City Police Commissioner. Baltimore City’s Spending Board last month approved a $275,000 per-year contract for Harrison, who previously ran the police force in New Orleans.

“We can’t do enough,” Pugh told WBAL a month ago. “I can’t wait for a new police chief to come on board. I can’t wait for the continued focus on reducing violence in the city.”

In a statement Monday night, Harrison thanked the City Council members for approving his hiring.

“I expect a long and productive relationship with the City Council and am looking forward to working together to achieve our goals of reforming the Baltimore Police Department, reducing crime and rebuilding trust with the community,” Harrison said.

Harrison was nominated for the job in January, one day after the candidate Pugh had previously backed withdrew his name from consideration as his 13-year-old son undergoes brain surgery in Fort Worth, Texas. He formally retired this winter from his post in Louisiana. Harrison had led the New Orleans Police Department since 2014 and has been a member there since 1991.

Before joining the New Orleans Police Department, Harrison served eight years with the Louisiana Air National Guard. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix and a master’s in criminal justice from Loyola University. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, Senior Management Institute for Police and the FBI’s National Executive Institute, according to the New Orleans Police Department.

Harrison has delivered “clear, consistent and compelling results,” Pugh said in a statement obtained by WBAL, noting the police department there was under a federal consent decree, just like Baltimore is.

Following the 2015 riots, the Baltimore Police Department signed a consent decree committing to police reform and repairing systemic issues.

Councilman Brandon Scott said on Jan. 8 that the city should have had a more open, inclusive and transparent process, but he respected Pugh’s decision to select Harrison.

“Baltimore needs our next police commissioner to be a proven crime fighter with the ability to concurrently reform and restructure the Baltimore Police Department. At first look Superintendent Harrison seems to meet those standards,” Scott said.

Since January 2018, there have been three people heading up the Baltimore Police Department.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis was fired in January 2018 after Pugh said the city was “not achieving the pace of progress that our residents have every right to expect in the weeks since we ended what was nearly a record year for homicides in the city of Baltimore.”

Interim Commissioner Garry Tuggle led the Baltimore Police Department since May. He was appointed to the post after former Commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigned following charges that he failed to pay taxes.

Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald initially had the recommendation of the mayor but withdrew his nomination on Jan. 7, 2019 as his 13-year-old son underwent his second surgery, the Star-Telegram reported.

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Bilal Ali

March 12th, 2019

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