Former federal drug agent Gary Tuggle says he doesn’t have what he thinks will be the five to seven years necessary to reform the city’s troubled police department.
Gary Tuggle, Baltimore’s interim police commissioner — the third person to hold the post this year — has withdrawn from consideration for the permanent job. Tuggle, a former Drug Enforcement Administration veteran who joined the police department this year, decided he couldn’t make the necessary commitment, reports the Baltimore Sun. “The problems are a heavy lift, but they’re not insurmountable,” said Tuggle. His decision was disclosed in a hearing on the police department’s consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. “I’m confident it can be fixed, without a doubt, but it’s going to take an extended commitment — I’m going to say five to seven years — based on everything that needs to be done, including re-establishing the public’s trust in the department. And I just don’t have that five to seven years to give,” he said.
City Solicitor Andre Davis told U.S. District Judge James Bredar that the city remains on track to name a new police commissioner by month’s end. The selection process has been kept under wraps. Davis said more than 50 applications have been received, and a panel of three experts from around the country is helping in the search. The city entered into a consent decree with the Justice Department last year after a federal investigation found widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory police practices. That investigation was launched after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in police custody. Former Police Commissioner Kevin Davis was fired in January. His replacement, Darryl De Sousa, lasted just a few months before he was charged with failing to file federal taxes and resigned in May. De Sousa had recruited Tuggle to be one of his deputies. Baltimore has had 10 police commissioners since 1989. Baltimore is in the midst of its deadliest 30-day stretch since 2015, with 43 people killed in the past month.