Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh replaced police commissioner Kevin Davis on Friday, citing the need to get a handle on Baltimore’s record levels of violence. Deputy Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, the top commander in the police department’s patrol bureau, took Davis’ place and won praise from a city council member.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh replaced police commissioner Kevin Davis on Friday, citing the need to get a handle on Baltimore’s record levels of violence, the Baltimore Sun reports. Deputy Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, the top commander in the police department’s patrol bureau, is taking Davis’ place, effectively immediately. Pugh said his appointment will be made permanent. After 2017 ended with a historic 343 homicides, the mayor said she decided a change of police leadership was necessary. “We are 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,” Pugh said.
Davis was named by former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in 2015 after she fired his predecessor, Anthony Batts, amid a surge in violence following the rioting and unrest in the city that April. The unrest erupted after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody led to widespread protests against police brutality. City Councilman Brandon Scott, chair of the public safety committee, said Pugh “has made a great decision with her pick” of DeSousa to replace Davis. “He understands every aspect of our city and what needs to happen as far as the police department’s role in improving Baltimore and making Baltimore a safer place. This will be the first time in a long time that the police commissioner doesn’t have to move into the city. He already lives here.” The spike in violence that was in its early stages when Davis took the helm has not dropped off. The city, which had not seen more than 300 homicides since 1999, ended 2015 with 342. There were 318 in 2016, before 343, a per capita record, last year.